A long tough day today. Some days are just much harder than others. Nice and sunny though. I am writing this while waiting at the hospital in Nevers.
I Left our amazing accommodation in Sichamps quite late at 8am in the company of Petra an Austrian lady hiking for a couple of weeks in France.
The first 10km or so was road walking to Guerigny on a busy highway with lots of trucks. French drivers are very courteous to hikers and will always give you plenty of space whenever they can. But you still have to stay focused with your ears for behind and eyes in front. The cars overtaking from behind is the worst.
Rested in Guerigny for a while. A skin infection on my right leg has flared up so I asked in a pharmacy if there was a Dr in town. Unfortunately not, only in Nevers.
I considered the bus to get to Nevers early to find a Doctor open. I have never caught any sort of transport before when walking! So a difficult call for me. Turned out the bus was not going to arrive for 4 hours anyway so may as well walk it. Said farewell to Petra who will be taking the bus as she is having her own problems with Achilles tendon.
Another 16 km of road walking and it is 28 deg today. After 8km I was running low on water. You learn to love graveyards in the middle of nowhere just about out of water and all the dead people are there to save you.
The thing about cemeteries is there’s almost always water there. In this case not only water but a shaded rest area and a WC. Like winning lotto.
Reached the suburbs of Nevers and detoured to a medical center and there was even a sign that said medical center. I went in and there was a lady sitting in a waiting area but no doctors worked there!
So I worked out a route into Nevers passing three doctors that Google maps says were open. At first two there were buildings but no doctors. While trying to navigate to the third doctor with my hiking poles under my arm and phone in my hand, I slipped down a gutter and had a hard fall into the road. Normally this would have been a stumble but with a heavy backpack it just over balances you and over you go. Fortunately there was no cars coming and I suffered very little injuries, the worst being my left wrist. Which in normal circumstances is not such a big thing. But when you’re using hiking poles, it becomes a significant issue. There was no doctor at the third doctors anyway. Decided to head directly to the Cathedral, past the Ducal Palace over the Loire, river bridge then to my accommodation on the other side of the river.
Accommodation is nice donativo for pilgrims with a kitchen and some food you can buy.
So my red inflamed skin condition is getting worse. The host here, Xavier, explains that most of the doctors have left town. (Maybe on next year’s Australian immigration intake) He helped me organise going to the hospital as that is the only place I will get to see one.
Don’t take Australian hospitals for granted! Here you cannot just go to the hospital. You have to call first to see if they will let you go there. I watched Xavier go through all the hoops on my behalf. It is very difficult. They accepted my request to visit the hospital and Xavier kindly drove the me the 7km.
It is 11pm and Xavier waits with me to translate and guide me through the process. 1st dr in emergency (Triage?) then to another area. Anyway to cut a long story short. The condition will not stop me walking!!! Phew. I have a prescription and the Dr waived the Eur 60 fee becase I was a pilgrim. Thank goodness for Xavier. This is a Donative so you just give a donation for the accommodation. He will get a big donation tomorrow.
All the town streetlights go off at 11pm. All of them!! Power is too expensive.
Nevers is famous for the body of Bernadette Soubirous, whose real name was Marie-Bernade Soubirous, was born on 7th January 1844 in Lourdes, and died on 16th April 1879 in Nevers, and is a French Catholic saint.
Nevers first enters written history as Noviodunum, in 52 BCE, Julius Caesar made it to Noviodunum, which he describes as in a convenient position on the banks of the Loire.