So on Sunday 11 May John walked for me. Of course that meant that I was forced to drive the van … which turned out to be a great thing. I had only driven the new van once and completely freaked out and decided that I was too old for this motorhome driving in europe gig. Forced to do it on my own … I was fine and regained my confidence. We were on serious back roads of France …. narrow roads … small towns. I followed Bruce and managed just fine.
We went into about three different small towns looking for food for dinner. Managed to find a great boucherie (butcher) and a boulangerie to buy a baguette and treat in the town we stayed for the night. I spent the rest of the day trying to reorganise our cupboards and getting the van into some sort of order. John and MR had a good walk. As it turns out it was the toughest of the trek so far. So a good one for me to miss. John said I wouldn’t have liked the downhill with my dodgy knees.
Tuesday 13 May
We walked into Lodeve … which we all decided was a pretty ugly crappy larger town. However, we did walk into the church and were met by a guide who thought we were English so he was very excited to tell us that Queen Victoria had bequeathed the lovely chandelier. We met the priest and some nuns and had our compostela stamped. John and I decided to go to the pool for a swim … unfortunately it was still closed for the autumn … opening next week. We wandered around the town trying to find wifi and failed with that as well. However, John found a nice gentleman from Tangiers in a computer shop that helped him sort out his Orange internet topup for his ipad.
Wednesday 14 May
This was a funny split day. We walked into Lunas … about 8.6 km. It was a nice little town with a lovely girl in the tourist information office that reminded us of Amy Winehouse. We bought a baguette and then went to the cafe for a coffee/hot chocolate, only to find out that the boys had just been there. An English lady had been talking to them. We contacted them and they headed back to see us.
As the next day was a big one where once again the boys couldn’t reach us we decided that we had to chop some of the distance off or it would have been too far. So we went to the vans which were parked in a great aire near a lake. Had lunch and a sleep and then walked another 5 or so km to as far as we could get and still be able to be picked up and taken back to the aire. Weird day but it worked.
Thursday 15 May
Saint Gervais Sur Mare. 26 km … a big climb and a big downhill. I came in exhausted and could hardly speak.
Friday 16 May Murat Sur Vebre
Saturday 17 May La Salvetat Sur Agout 21.4
This was a pretty walk. Late in the day we came across a couple of apple trees in full bloom and lay underneath them and ate muesli bars. Probably my best camino moment so far. The apple blossoms were gorgeous.
We thought we had 1.4 km to go but were pleasantly surprised when we went around the corner and realised that we were on the edge of the town. We met up with Rita from Melbourne … another walker we had met along the way and she told us that there was a great patisserie so we went and splurged by buying some treats for dinner. Her French friend had been back three times to buy more treats!
The boys met us in the village and we had pastice and beers in the local tabac that was showing the local rugby. It was great to relax and do something fun at the end of the day. The crowd was pretty excited as their local team, Castres, is one of the best in France and they won.
From there we headed to a funny half empty lake that had a sailing club … which meant toilets, showers and water. There was an aire attached to it so emptying facilities as well.
Sunday 18 May Angles 19.5 km
An ordinary day’s scenery. I arrived at the van … jumped straight into bed and slept for 2 hours. Got up cooked dinner while the others were at the Tabac using internet and drinking beers. Then as we were right next to a tennis court John and I played tennis … which was a hoot. I won!!!!! Lots of laughing.
Monday 19 May
We walked into Boissezon … it was a seriously crappy town. John picked us up and drove us 3 km downhill to the rugby grounds near Noailhac. We decided that we had done enough downhill and wouldn’t bother heading back the 3 km the next day to start up there. It had been a big day of downhill … the last day out of the mountains. Unfortunately I hurt my right knee. Not too badly though but a pity as I had been so slow and careful up until then. MR’s turn to cook dinner so John and I headed into Castres to go to the Decathlon (sports shop … they have THE best earplugs) and John bought some sailing gear. Then into the city to visit the tourist information to sort out where I would stay for a week. In the end booked the lovely Gite in Lautrec that MR had found in the Lonely Planet.
Tuesday 20 May … 16 km
All up early as John wanted to head south to get repairs done and then head in the direction of Italy. We walked into Castres and found the tourist information again. Went to a lovely coffee shop in the middle of the old town. Great coffee and hot chocolate. Then walked out of the town to the north. It was seriously blowing by now and I was a bit perturbed that we would get blown into the path of the oncoming traffic. Managed to get a bit lost right at the end and realised that we were on the wrong road to meet up with Bruce. A quick phone call and he came to our rescue … as always! Lautrec was about a 20 minute drive north. MR helped me with my bags (too much crap but have to keep myself entertained! Bugger all clothes but lots of books!) and we found my gite.