A long walk, but a fantastic day for walking.
Because it was longer walk planned on leaving early, but the home made jams at breakfast were so fantastic – orange marmalade, rhubarb, plum had to try them all. Really the food at this gite was simple but superb.
As I was putting on my shoes I noticed the hall was waymarked with an indication our route – GR65 – was only 10m out the back door. As we had wound around through town to get here a shortcut was welcome and I took it. It also meant I did not walk out the front door and thus left my walking sticks behind. Fortunately
Guylène saw them and brought them to me.
The morning continued through pine forests, fields and tiny villages. There were several stone churches and chappelles to visit. They tend to be very simple, usually plain stone with a few stained windows, and fairly dark. The one in La Chaze de-Peyre had a distinctive steeple that I could see from a long way off.
Inside was a very sweet tiny oil painting of the church. The sign outside of town indicated toilets, church and a restaurant and I began dreaming of a jus d’orange, but the restaurant was closed. Shortly after this I came upon a tiny chappelle off the side of the road, and inside a small oil painting of it probably by ths same person. The chappelle was lovely. Small, full of light, and beautifully decorated on a base of pastel green. The benches were also simple, but beautiful and comfortable.
In the same area I passed two fantatic fields of blue batchelor buttons, and I watched four tiny lambs following an ewe.
Much of the walk today was through huge pastures on tiny narrow paths between barbed wire. At the end of one pasture and the beginning of the next you would detatch then reattach the barbed wire. As in Spain, marking in the countryside is pretty clear, but it can get tricky entering towns as each can be marked diffrently. Out side of one town it was so intermittantly marked I was sure I was lost so I turned back and thus ran into Jean, who assured me I was going the correct way. He was headed for the same gite, and we walked together for awhile until he stopped for lunch by the side of the road. I walked on to les quatres chemins where the advertised restaurant had burned. Luckily they had put up a temporary uilding, and I had grapefruit juice and yogurt and cukes for lunch. Although it feels less remote, infact this area is more remote than in Spain. Cafés, internet access, telephone coverage is much spottier. More people carry food with them and you can see them resting and eating a little off the path in the fields and the forrests enjoying the views, the sun, the shade.
At this point the landscape changed dramatically. No more pine forrests, no more wheat. LOTS of huge stones in the pastures and the way was pretty rocky. Vast vistas of pastures divided by stone walls and barbed wire. Lots of cows with nothing better to do than give you a casual glance as you passed as they chewed their cud and their calves nursed. In addition from this point on I saw no one until
I arrived at our gite.
The wind was blowing very strongly – I could have been in Ellensburg. Up and over another pass and at last I could see yurts and q tiny building dwarfed by the enormous fields. My destination for the day.
The dinner was a vegetable soup (pureed eggplant, carrots, leeks and potatos), rice, lentil patties and tomato sauce, and flan flavored with tansy for dessert. In fact I found it quite good. When the lentil patties were placed on the table, Beate commented that she thought the food in the gites was not very french and you needed to go to restaurants to get real french food, but in fact the food I’ve had in the gites is pretty much what I have been served in people’s homes. I think the thing I have had most has been scalloped potatos, which always surpises me as I think of that as a standard american dish. After this comment people rmarked that Le Puy’s green lentils are famous, and such a meal would not be uncommon in this area.
I, 8 other women and Jean are now all snug on our matresses in our little yurt. All
afternoon the wind was raging and the yurt was very noisy, but now it has completely died down. With the body heat of 10 people I don’t think I am going to need the blanket (unlike in spain where blankets are the exception rather than the rule here many people who stay in the gites carry only a sleeping sheet as blankets are provided).
The french all seem to feel the owners of this gite are not very nice, I’ve heard a littany of complaints against them. Perhaps they are correct as this morning there was about half a small baguette when Guylène, Beate, I and two others arrived for breakfast. The owner (who was in the room) was totally oblivious to the fact that we had nothing to eat (we had paid 6 € for breakfast). I finally asked for some bread, and she sent me to find her husband who grudgingly brought out some more.