Day 193- Arles, South France – a pilgrimage to the Montmajor Abbey

I spent the morning in the backyard of my air b and b in the loft garden. It was a wonderful place to sit, ponder and write for a couple of hours. In the afternoon, I decided to walk to Montmajor Abbey which is five kilometres from the old town. The walk started off great but then I got to the wheat fields. They had already been harvested and whilst the fields looked pretty they weren’t nice to walk in with sandals on. The cropped wheat was like walking on  barbed wire.

I got halfway there when the track disappeared and I had to walk on the road. Roads made in medieval times are dangerous – they are narrow and curvy and cars appear out of nowhere very, quickly. For my own safety, I had to walk through private land with no tracks. It was an adventure!

The Montmajor Abbey is a fortified Benedictine Monastery built between the 10th and the 18th centuries – it was an important pilgrimage for monks during the middle ages. During that time, the Monastery was surrounded by a swamp. The Abbey is located on a large rocky hill. It’s the oldest Abbey in France. The Abbey is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I loved walking around it. Climbing up the steep winding steps to get to the lookout where you could see for miles. I could imagine what it was like in the middle ages. Van Gough also liked to hang out here – the Abbey and the landscape are in several of his paintings.

It was a great time to visit as the international photography festival was on and several the rooms were used as exhibitions for international photographers. I left reluctantly both because I loved being in the space and also because I knew I was going to have an adventure to get back to town – if i make it!

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