Par-don-wah? ? ?

imageIs this Way of St. James or the Navy Seals training run? Wifi is come-see come-sa, but yesterday started with a slippery muddy climb, then a totally overgrown rutted trail, the surrounding thorn bushes grabbing at your shirt, then we came to a small chapel (locked -somebody call the Pope), decided to have lunch there and had nice talk with a young Parisian pilgrim. The afternoon went well following on along the Lot river, but the last few miles was a long switch backing climb to our nights stay. We stayed at a remote Cambre d’Hote, we were two of 12 guests, and the dinner was terrific, many courses it lasted for 2 1/2 hrs. We were the token Americans.
Today was the easiest day, as far as elevation changes and smooth trail, but it was to good to last and the last miles came down the now to be expected very steep, narrow, boot grabbing,rock strewn trail dropping several hundred meters. Monica tripped and fell near the end, a bracelet she was wearing broke and cut her hand, a few new bruises and she was doing OK, until we got to Conques, and she went to a Benedictine service at 8:30 pm, and walking behind the altar in almost total darkness she again tripped and fell. More bruises, but nothing busted. Thanks for your prayers.
We stopped for lunch in a very small village, the women told Monica to leave. She couldn’t serve us. The restaurant served one lunch item, if you wanted to eat it fine, but if you wanted something else – Leave. It was ham with a side of peas & carrots, we stayed and it turned out to be very nice tasting and inexpensive. Then the waitress became very friendly with Monica and ended up giving her the bracelet off of her wrist that she had just gotten at Lourdes. Not sure how that works out, Monica got a gift of a bracelet blessed at Lourdes, then falls down twice?
We are staying an extra day here in Conques.

Baby the rain must fall

imageimageimageimageimageimageLast night after we had ended for the day a thunderstorm Came through with heavy rains, so today everything was wet, what had been just a rocky tract became a watercourse. Sometimes we didn’t know if we hiking a pilgrimage route or going to spawn? The wet rocks were like walking on ice cubes. The first 10 miles went by pretty easy, then we stopped fcr lunch,afterwards the remaining four miles was a muddy series of steep ups and downs, the humidity was very high and we were both totally drenched in sweat.

Ship the pack ahead. . .

It is a religious trip

It is a religious trip

Monday notes stop

Monday notes stop

imageGypsy Spirits
They do have cute eyes

They do have cute eyes

Crosses of all ages along the route

Crosses of all ages along the route

Watch out for the cow patties!

Watch out for the cow patties!

imageHow sweet it was to hike with just a small daypack today, many thanks to Andy & Denise. The first half of the day was one long climb through miles of open fields of grazing cattle. There is a unbelievable number of French hikers, they aren’t Pilgrims, they are on a week or 10 day holiday. We did meet two men from Australia, a woman from Belgium, and a woman from Germany, who are Pilgrims. We walked a ways with the young German girl, Eva, who started walking from Germany, crossed part of Switzerland, now crossing France, on her way to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, then she intends to continue on to Oporto, Portugal. Now that is a Pilgrim. Interestingly the majority of hikers, pilgrim or not are women.
There was a village at the midpoint perfectly positioned for a snack & coffee, the second half of the day was a continual steep rocky down, miles of rolly slippery rocks. We are spending the night in a tiny room and bath adjoining a stone medieval house. Our hosts,a New Zealand women and Her French husband. A very interesting couple they have been Ocean sailors and he is a cook,so we share a number of interest and ideas.

Feet are made for walking!!!

This is a little fact you couldn’t prove by me. After not hiking for a month the feet, legs, back all say “no way we’re going on”. AND the weather is unusually hot! Over 85 today so by afternoon this body is ready to lay down in the shade…the hill might only be a 350 feet incline but in my mind I am sure it is over a 1000ft. Don’t try this unless you trained…lesson 1.

Tomorrow, another day and different aches and pains. But it is onward & upward!
Blessings to all

Day 2

Yesterday there were dozens of hikers, mostly French weekenders, and interestingly mostly women. We did meet two women from New Jersey, who had come from Le Puy and going to St. Jean Pied de Port. A lot more people than there are accommodations for, so at end of day lodging is questionable. Monica had tried making reservations before we left, but due to language difference, wasn’t sure it worked. So far so good. We stopped at a small Chambre d’Hote for lunch today, and it could rival any Bay Area restaurant. Started with a Foie Gras salad with local lettuce & tomatoes, and almonds,then I had grilled lamb, and Monica had beef that came with a mix of veggies and mashed potatoes (the French love potatoes), then they brought the Frommage course with 6 local cheeses, ending with a fruit tart and a Creme brûlée and coffee.Well also a carafe of the house red. HEY! It easy being a Pilgrim. We are having a bit of a problem getting photos on here, but stay tuned.image

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We begin the trail, or is it trial?

I have to confess that I told my friend Marv that jet lag never bothered us, we always hit the deck running, but today proved me wrong. After some thirty six+ hours traveling without sleep or proper food! we started today with a 16 mile trek scheduled, stopped for a baguette, and across the street for ham & sausage for our picnic. Then the reported flat walk climbed a bit, followed by a continuing undulating route. Much of today was spent heel to toe in a deep rutted track. But then, evil jet lag set-in, and our miles made good shrieked down to a very tired 9 miles at a Gite (in Spain it is an Alberque, shared living) the Spirit of the Camino smiled on us and we got a private room. During dinner we were in conversation with three French couples, who said they were staying a second night, and they had taken a vote, and decided we should stay an extra day with them. They were a fun group but we are hitting the hot & dusty and moving on tomorrow, Not far, but far enough to work off the lag

The adventure begins. . .

It started as a typical day for the Pilgrims, Monica & Dave.
They called our flight to board at SFO, and Monica can,t find her passport. United’s Search teams flashed into action, along with TSA Terrorist Response Teams, including NSA drones, with all the rapid response going on the man sitting next to her suggested she look in a white envelope he had noticed her with; the stalker was right, there it was, so tranquility returned.
An uneventful 11hr flight brought us safely to Paris.
Caught the high speed train to Lyon, changed trains, but then we were assured by our 16 yr.old high school seat partner that we would get off at his stop to continue on by bus, great just tell us when. Well, we got off the train with him, to find ourselves standing there as the train disappears down the track, when our student guide tells us that he and we got off at the wrong station. This was after Monica complimented him on his good English, and he answered that he was in a French school,but was from England. Hurry, Hurry, into the train station and in about 15 minutes we were enroute on a different train, but now also had our bus reservations – no harm done. After 6 hrs on trains, we have a 2 hr bus ride, it drops us off at the RR station in Aumont Aubrac, but it is 10 PM and everything is closed. We walk to the Inn where we have reservations, same place we ended last years walk, the house is totally blacked out but the women, same women answers the door. Doesn’t remember us, doesn’t remember the reservation. We hotfoot it down the street to a hotel, also closed for nite, and find the innkeeper, who gets us a room, but fixes us a great dinner with wine. Nite all!