May 302011

Slept like a log last night. Opened my eyes to a pink tinted sunrise, but didn’t leave my bed until 7:17. Groggy getting started this am. Had a breakfast of yogurt and cucumber and the remains of our loaf of bread and the delicious cheese I bought at the farm yesterday. Thought maybe I would find another place to buy some today, but there was very little comercial activity along the path today. Not even a little bar for coffee except in the realitivly large town of Saint Alban sur Limagnole, where we had lunch at the Hotel du Centre, which also had wi-fi access. (I think the slowest I’ve ever seen. It took almost 2 hours to get the pages to load that I need to post the blog. I didn’t even try to look at email.)
St. Alban had a very interesting chateau on the hill above the town that is now a hospital/medical center. Lunch was oj, a mushroom omlette and a lettuce salad. Just the right amount of food.
This morning as we were passing the Chappelle of St. Roch someone was making a film about this area and wanted to get movies of pilgrims walking by looking at the church and we complied.
Both morning and afternoon was walking along the crest of hills mostly through pine/birch forests or hills lined with scotch broom. The smell alternated between the scent of these warm pine needles and broom, and was very pleasing. The pine forests are quite shady, which was very welcome as this afternoon was significantly warmer than it has been for several days. And quite a bit warmer than it was in this morning. It was a little shock to walk out into the heat after lunch. Fortunatly there was only 7.5 k of fairly easy walking. St Alban had several interesting historical plaques up explaining the history of le chemin de St. Jacques (french version of el Camino de Santiago) concentrating on St Albans role in the camino. In spite of the heat, very pleasant walking. Saw some beautiful rapters, and a small fox. I can tell that my body is getting stronger but will probably just be raring to go about the time I go home. We are at another nice lodging in the tiny town of Les Estrets. Lovely yard with huge shade trees and comfortable picnic tables.
The shy german woman met at St Privat turns out to be German Swiss from somewhere near Lake Constance and the German border and is named Brigite Silva. She offered me a cup of green tea as I came outside to enjoy the shade in the yard. It was very refreshing. Patricia was also at the table and showed off a lovely little array of pressed flowers collected along the way.
Simple and nice day.
Dinner was yummy and fun. For the fisrt time it felt like a pilgrim’s dinner in Spain. I think is because a signicant number of people are starting to look familiar to each other. Since most people are traveling in groups they have tended to stick together at dinner, and conversation has been a little strained, or not expanded past the core group traveling. Last night Guylène invited a lone pilgrim to eat with us and it felt like the right thing to do. I also think tonight we also had a higher percentage of people who think of themselves as pilgrims as opposed to randoneurs on holiday and a few people who have been traveling alone have been pulled into a larger group. Anyway, the talk around the table was easy and lively.
For the record, wine was included with the meal, the first course was fresh baguettes and a very yummy paté de la maison, the main course scalloped potatos and very tender beef in gravy, followed by a cheese plate of 4 delicious cheeses and an ice cream cone. No complaints!

 Posted by at 7:44 am

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