Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Time to Stop




Dufort-La Capelette - Moissac (420km)
Convent de Carmel
We are about 1100km shy of St. Jacques de Compostela - a goal for next year. Gord and I have come to the end of this year's journey on the Camino. We began this trip feeling that in some ways we were imposters faking a Catholic pilgrimage but the fantastic community of people walking together towards similar but different goals transformed us into our own form of pilgrims. The feeling of interconnectedness more present on the Camino than any other place in my experience. Our farewell drink with Kurt and Ilse before exploring the town was a lovely example of the friendships made on route.

Moissac was an important Medeval center and even though the railway cuts the historic core into two, it still has some of the best Romenesque carvings you will ever see. What you don't see in Moissac , behind all the beauty, is the brutal history of of Cathar suppression. In a single day, more than 250 so called heretics were burned alive in the square.

Our final night on the Camino was lovely but a bit sad. We could have happily continued on, but we will have to be patient.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bastide Towns



Lasbanes - Montlauzun
L'Ancien Presbytere

Perched on a hill top village with phenomenal views our 12th century Presbytery was more than comfortable. From our room we could enjoy the surrounding hills covered with sunflowers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sunflowers




Cahors - Lascabanes (373km)
Chambre D'Hotes Francois Bessiers

The morning began by crossing the fabulous bridge at Cahors. After a bit too long on roads we finally entered beautiful farm land covered in sunflower fields.

Lascabanes has a mass for pilgrims every day where the Priest washes the feet of all the Pilgrims. It is a wonderful little town that once had several stores, but now it doesn't even have one.

We ate dinner outside at a long table looking out over the mellon and sunflower fields.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Pilgrim's Welcome



Mas de Ver - Cahors (350km)
Chez Pierre
Crossing the bridge into Cahors we were welcomed by volunteer ladies manning an old tax collection hut on the new bridge. They gave us drinks and cookies while they called around to find us a Gite.
Cahors is a wonderful maze of tightly knit streets in the Medieval core.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dolman in the Couses


Limogne en Quercy - Mas de Vers ( 332km)
Poudally Gite d'etape
Not the most scenic of days, but I can't complain given that we were still able to see a neolithic Dolman.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best Pizza in the World


Cajarc - Limongne en Quercy (311km)
Bastide de Vinel
We spent most of the day walking with Paula and Jean-Paul. Paula walked all the way from Vienna and Jean-Paul is following the route with his "camping car" and doing an out and back hike each day. It was a fun day and I am getting lots of practice speaking French.

Now about French pizza. It is the best!!! Chevre with honey is my new favorite. Gord loves all things with blue cheese.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

French Lessons


Beduer - Cajarc (291km)
Gite de Pelerin
Today's walk was largely along shaded lanes which was good considering we are in another hot spell. We walked for a time with my new found French teacher Jean-Paul and then were joined later by Gisela a lovely woman from Germany.

Cajarc is just days away from hosting a huge African Music festival and the town was buzzing with preparations. We took a lovely historical walking tour before heading back to make dinner at the Gite.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A speedo and a trailer!


Figeac - Beduer ( 272)
Camping French style means they provide the trailer and the bathing suits as it turned out.
Today was a beautiful walk though some picture perfect fairytale towns. We ended the day with a cool dip in the pool with loaner bathing suits followed by pizza with Claudine and Pierre.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fairy Chimneys


Livinhac-le -haut to Figeac (260km)
Staying at the Hotel Toulouse
We had to say our good-byes to the group that we were walking with for the past week. Figeac was their end point for this year. Hopefully we will meet again either on the Camino or here in Canada.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dinner with Friends


Conques to Livinahac-le-Haut (231KM)
Staying with Mr & Mme Cayre Albert Roquelongue
The true spirtit of the Camino is a communal dinner made and shared with friends.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Conques

Golinhac - Conques ( 207.5km)
The Monastery of St. Foy one of my favorite places that we stayed even though we didn't have our own room.

Conques is a Unesco Heritage Site and a complete marvel. Literally hanging off the steep wall of a ravine.

A town without a church

Montlauzun - Dufort-la-Capelette
LE Pigeonnier du Fige-Haut
We received one of our warmest welcomes yet. Our hostess provided us with all the farm fresh ingredients to make a lovely pasta supper. Beyond this she also asked me if it was French that I thaught. Wow what a complement.


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Up to our Bastide

Estaing - Golinhac (186km)

Beautiful but hot walking today. It was a nice reward to have a beautiful room overlooking the valley below at La Bastide d'Olt. Not as social as Estaing, but much better for sleeping.

More religious than a Convent

Saint-Come d'Olt - Estaing
Hospitalite St-Jaques
This place was more religious than a convent! Gord and I had to rely on the language barrier to explain our multiple social gaffs at this Gite. In spite of our mistakes at dinner we met a great group of travelers and had a wonderful evening.

Estaing was an amazing Medieval town, with stone bridges spanning a steam lined with ancient houses.





Monday, July 13, 2009

The most Beautiful Cows



Nasbinals to Saint-Chely-de Aubrac (133Km)

Gorgeous hiking day today. We hiked up over a pass at 1313 meters to the town of Aubrac before plunging down to Saint-Chely-de-Aubrac. On route we stopped at this lovely stone shelter created for the pilgrims and supplied daily by the local farmer with hot coffee and cookies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blueberries and Bagettes


Les Quatre Chemins - Nasbinals ( 116km)
Hotel de France

The rolling hills have transformed into a more austere stony meadowland full of blueberries and wildflowers.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Walking Again!


Aumont-Aubrac-Les Quatre Chemins ( 100km )
We stayed at the local watering hole of Chez Regine.

We left Albi after a wonderful and healing side trip and returned to Aumont-Aubrac to start walking again. It was fantastic to be back on the Camino.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Side Trip to Albi



Today we hopped on a train and bus to visit Albi the center of the Cathar Heretics and the home of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum.

The Aubrac


Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole to Aumont-Aubrac (89)km
Hotel Aubrac

Another day sipping espressos and resting my feet waiting for Gord to meet up with me after his walk.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cargo Time


Saugues to Saint-Alban-Sur-Limagnole (72.5km)
Stayed at the Chambre d'Hotes of Mr. et Mme Soubiran- Peyridieu.

Gord made some good mileage today as I rested my feet in the Malle Postale baggage transport van. We have climbed up onto the Aubrac now and spring has just arrived.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blisters and Bliss


Monstrol D'Allier to Saugues ( 40km)
We stayed at the lovely family dairy farm Martins Itier. Each day the scenery is different, but always stunning. We climbed up to a high plateau dotted with tiny towns.

My feet need a rest until the blisters pop, heal or both.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Blisters the size of Quarters!



Day 2 Montbonnet to Monistrol d'Allier ( 28km)














We stayed at La Tasbone where we celebrated our anniversary with our new Camino Friends Claudine, Pierre, Marie, Patricia, Karine, Maude & ValĂ©rie !!!!









The celebration included the arrival of Claudine and Pierre's to serenade us and demand that Gord get down on his knee and renew his vows to me.

All of the great fun helped to distract me from the blisters I got from the sharp edge of my new orthotics!@#$!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Walking Begins!

Day 1 Le Puy-En-Velay to Montbonnet (15km)
Stayed at Le Gite L'Escole



In Montbonnet we met Claudine and Pierre, Quebequois from Montreal. We had a great evening with Pierre translating as needed as we dusted off our shaky French. We also met three lovely French women who were enjoying a week of freedom from the demands of mothering.

Our first night eating a communal dinner was great.