MELILLO – SATURDAY, MAY 23 – VILLEFRANCHE DE ROUERGUE, FRANCE
As always, I begin with our evening pre-retiring story:
Before I hopped into bed last light, I took a couple of photos of our Host & Hostess as they walked around their property evaluating plants, the gardens and the grounds. You could just see and feel the love they have for their home … and for each other. It was a great way to end the day.
Got up in the morning and we went downstairs for coffee and a quick “smoke”. We greeted our hosts and they invited us into their “Gathering Room” (which Susan named “The Club Room” and they loved it!). It is actually a room attached to their garage under the house. It is set up with a table and chairs, lights for the evenings and shades to be drawn to hide the other areas of the garage. A very comfortable and welcoming “social center” to say. It appears that this is also a retreat for them during the day … or to visit with guests over wine and cheese in the evenings. We enjoyed a great conversation with both of them over what was probably a full pot of coffee. But I still wanted coffee with breakfast, I hoped we were not on rations!
We went back upstairs to shower and finish packing as Ina went off to prepare our breakfast. We came down to a lovely dining room and a table set with all sorts of “goodies” for breakfast and a full pot of coffee. (I’m getting used to being wired) I think we have had a croissant for breakfast every morning since we arrived in Europe. But today was different … Ina & Kees treated us with fried eggs, prosciutto (jambon), other meats and cheeses. Being the “pro’s” that we are, we both made ourselves a wonderful “Egg Croissant” SANDWHICH … absolutely delicious! Wired up we went back upstairs to finish packing and took some time for some photo ops with Kees, Ina & Bo … bidding farewell and hating to leave. We are most grateful to them for making our time at their Bed & Breakfast so enjoyable and memorable. Kees asked that we add them to our email address for our Daily Trip Reports during our “personal pilgrimage” and we have done so … welcome to the van Der Sandt’s. By the way … did I tell you that I loved this bed and shower?
We headed out toward our next stop … Villafranche-de-Rouergue, France … to Notre Dame de Treize Pierres les Clerksde Saint Viatuer (the Path of the 13 Stones) where a beautiful story is told about Our Lady and the Apostles helping some workmen get across a river in the area by laying 13 stones so that they could cross over the waters with theirs carts and their oxen. Of course, the purpose of the workmen’s efforts was because they wanted to build a Chapel to Our Lady which still stands today and we were Blessed to visit.
On our way to Villafrance-de-Rouergue, we wanted to stop to stretch our legs and for Susan to remove her fingernails from the car’s leather arm-rests that she was trying to hide from me as I had my “fun” through the mountain “S-Turns”. We saw a road sign on the side of the road that said “Notre Dame de Quezac”. The two of us, within seconds, said … this is a Shrine that the Sisters and Priest at Notre Dame L’Hermitage in Noiretalble had told us about. This was not on our “radar” for our trip … we had also learned that it is a pilgrim stop for those walking the “Way of Saint James on the Road to Compestello”. I made a quick right turn, not knowing if we had a long ride ahead of us and not knowing anything about the Shrine. Within less than one minute, the Shrine was directly in front of us on the left … we pulled into the empty parking spaces and entered the grounds … there was absolutely no one around. I was wondering if they had a toilet?
The Church of Quexac was beautiful and gave us another opportunity to visit a Sacred Statue of Our Blessed Mother and Jesus which are so prevalent in France especially this area. The finding of Sacred Statues, I believe is one of the catalysts that has led so many people to the Chapels, Churches and Cathedrals that have the honor of Our Lady’s grace and presence in the form of these mysterious statues. They have been Prayed in by so many believers. We have seen “ex-votos”(testimonial plaques) adorning walls, chapels, Sanctuaries …. Just incredible! Unfortunately today the believers are few. We couldn’t leave this Shrine without praying, so we decided that this was the perfect place in front of the Mother and Child statue to pray the rosary for all you intentions. Our voices echoed through out the church and a peace fell upon us. We lit a candle as usual in thanks to our Mother and Savior for listening to our request.
We continued on our journey to Villefranchise du Rougere and the Chapel of the 13 Stones. The story is below and a quick read. When we arrived it was closed as we had figured since everything closes from 12 to 2, so we decided to find our B&B and see if we could check in. No problem except for the flight of stairs I had to go up to find the owner. She, Jane, said the room was ready and wanted me to go up another flight of stairs to see the room. I said let me get some luggage first (my legs were killing me and I didn’t want to up and down 2x without something in hand).and by the way let me get my wife.
I figured we could do this in 3 trips, but dangerous Dave the husband appeared and grabbed the 2 biggest pieces of luggage and was in our room with them before I locked the car. Jane also appeared and grabbed some more luggage. I gave Susan some and I made it to our room with the wine and food in hand without losing a breath.
We went into town to the Chapel of the Penentinents, not realizing it was a museum of sorts. As we paid to go in the woman at the desk, found out we wanted to visit the chapel of the 13 stones that was always closed except by appointment, she called the caretaker and made an appointment for us for 5 PM.
Pretty good except that this guy couldn’t speak a word of English and his exuberance for his job was so overwhelming that he spent 40 minutes telling us the story of the chapel and of the frescos on the walls in french and I think I said “oui” 50 times. Thank God we understood the depictions. I tried to tip him but he wouldn’t take it so I said donation and that was the it. We bid him farewell and returned to our B&B in desperate need of a glass of wine.
We had a bite to eat and sent out a report and crashed into that lovely
KING size bed. Morning came to soon.
God Bless you all
Love Susan and Tom
Our Lady of Quezac
Click here for the story of Our Lady of Quezac