Jun 042011
 
Beate, Guylène and the shell of St James in front of the church at St Come as we wait for our van.

Beate, Guylène and the shell of St James in front of the church at St Come as we wait for our van.

The ride back to Le Puy has to be one of the craziest, ever. Guylène discovered that the company ”Le Malle Poste” that transports baggage from gite to gite for those who don’t want to carry everything will also transport people, and it seemed by far the simplest and most direct method of getting back to her car in Le Puy. The chauffeur would pick us up on the return trip to Le Puy after his run of dropping off bags. We were at the gite at 2:27 and he arrived at 2:33. We enquired about the length of the ride, and were told he had a couple of bags still to drop off but it should take about 3 hours. I figured we had covered about 150k/93 miles in our 7 days of walking. There wasn’t a convienent autoroute, so we would be mostly returning on smaller roads. He put us both in the front seat, and we were off for a quick 6k detour to Espallion to pick up two women who were doing the opposite of us. They left their car at Espalion and were taking the van to Le Puy to start their walk. The ride was short, but hair-raising. We zipped along at 110k in 50k zones, passed on every blind curve. Guylène holding on to the strap for dear life while I slide helplessly first into her and then the driver at each turn of the narrow country road. We barely had time to catch our breaths and look at each other in horror before the two women were in the car and we were off, seconds later were were repassing through St Côme and then, minutes later we were passing the restaurant where we had lunched with Giles in Aubrac, then the restaurant in Nasbinals where we had stopped for tea. We then paused for a few minutes in Nasbinals waiting for another passenger. He was no where to be found, so after a few minutes of the chauffeur on the phone we were off again. Still at breakneck speed. It was raining by this time, and but was still pretty light and I must say the high flat countryside even more beautiful, suddenly the coutryside looked VERY familiar and there we were passing wet and bedraggled pilgims stopping at the restaurant where we had lunch with Giles and a few minutes later we were passing wet and bedraggled pilgrims in the restaurant where we had tea in Nasbinals. Once again we were in front of the lovely little church. This time the Belgian man was waiting for us and we were off. I finally looked at Guylène who looked like she was about to chuck up her lunch, and asked Ca va? It was the moment she had been waiting for. No it was not ca va! If the driver did not start obeying the speed limit she would get off in the next town. He immediately excused himself, and began driving at a more reasonable pace. We continued our retracing of steps past Estrets, past the outdoor store where Beate looked for a lighter jacket in Aumont-Aubrac, past St Alban, past the chapel of St Roch. We were then on a motorway for a short way, off he motorway then back on it going the other direction! Then off the motorway and passing town after familiar town Until we re-reached Aumont-Aubrac. Guylène, the two women in the backseat and I where having hysterical fits suppressed of laughter. We retraced our steps all the way back to Aumont-Aubrac, dropped off a bag, then passed for the third time the outdoor store, Estrets, the terrace restaurant in St Alban. At last we reaced Saugues, one street over from the little green house of Janine, keeper of the memories of pilgrims from all over the world. We picked up a bag, and again started to retrace or route. We four women bagan to disolve into hysterics. For the first time the Belgian man began to perceive that we were not going in a straight line. ”But this is where I spent the night, we have already passed it twice, are we going toward Le Puy?”. I had images of returning once more all the way to Aumont-Aubrac and shook with helpless laughter againt Guylène. Fortunately we only went as far as the gite des 2 pelerins (one of the few run by former pilgrims) only a few miles down the road from Chanaleilles. In all it took over five hours to get to Le Puy.
We had planned on driving to Daniel and Christel’s house outside of Chambery for dinner and to spend the night, but by this time we would arrive far too late for dinner, so we had salads (mine a yummy cold lentil salad made of the green le puy lentils) and finally left Le Puy.

 Posted by at 3:54 am

  One Response to “Part 12 Mr Toads Wild Ride”

  1. C’est tout à fait ça !!!!!

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