Thursday, April 30, 2009


I just asked directions to this Internet place in the street and the guy is Australian, having lived here for 2 yers a the prospect of living on. He’s from. Canberra. I walked in the aforementioned WWW spot, asked how to get started and there was an Australian girl and her dad hard at work. They’re here on holiday (USA, UK, France, Italy) from. Bendigo.
Well, loved St Guilhem le D├ęsert. It is situated beside a creek winding from a cirque - a closed valley formed by a glacier. At the foot of this closed valley is a steep gorge. All around are mountains, and at the top of one is the ruins of a castle. How did they get the mortar and timber up their?
Guilhem was son/grandson? of Charles Martel and cousin to Charlemagne alongside whom he fought as trusted lieutentant. He was made lord of this and duke of that but when his wife died started thinking of his own mortality and founded the abbey and town. Naturally as a military man he chose the safest and most easily defendable place around. His mutilated tomb and those of his two sisters are in the lapidary (stone, but semi-precious) museum which unfortunately was closed yesterday. (Is that how you get to be a saint? Be a military man and win battles by killing people, then establish a monastery a few years before you die? Just wondering.)
The abbey has been destroyed a few times and rebuilt but it was deconsecrated during the revolution. The cloisters which apparently are very beautiful are in the Cloisters Mueum in NY. The locals are now agitating to get them back. Not going to happen, but it would be nice for them to have copies. What has been rebuilt is nothing like it should be. In the 1970s it was reconsecrated under the care of the Carmelites. There are now seven ladies keeping the canonical hours. They get money from donations in the church, open daily, sales of Cds and books in their bookroom, guests, mainly walkers, and I think, some of the money from the nearest car park. They are serious about the business of rebuilding and maintaining. The square alongside the church was absolutely buzzing with all tables full for hours, so it seemed, and waiters from the two creperies needed their runners. By 6 all shops were shut! Liz, a fellow pilgrim and I wanted eat!
Fortunately two opened at 7.

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