On the GR-65. Day 9 ( last day)

Saturday September 30. Lauzerte to Moissac. This day will be over 30km.

A difficult day as it starts with rain as soon as we leave the gite in Lauzerte. We are wearing our raincoat. We have a cover on our backpack but we really hope the clouds are going to get tired to spray on us.

I don’t want to take photos with  my camera. It is in a plastic bag in my pocket. I try to take pictures with my cellular but really I will take very few that day. But when I see this building I want a photo. This must  be a dovecote ( where pigeons or dove can stay).

We walk, we walk and we do not find a place to shelter for our lunch. We do not want to waist time  as we think it would be better to arrive  and rest. But it is our last day on the trail and we keep thinking about the arrival.

We see a few pilgrims  who, like us, have to deal with the muddy and slippery  trail. Without walking sticks it is not easy to climb the step trail.

We have booked a hotel room for this last night. I am quite happy to get in  Moissac.

We have been there a few days before this adventure. It is where I bought my créantiale and now I have many stamps on it. In France we do not have to show our créantiale when we sleep in a gite  but in Spain the pilgrims need to have one.

All day the rain doesn’t stop. It would be our most difficult day. Our feet are wet and I feel cold. The warm shower is the best thing to do when we get to the room shortly after 3 pm.   We rest and later we choose a restaurant close by our hotel. We indulge in pizza and red wine.

Celebration. We have done more than 250 km in 9  days.

The next morning, we have time to wander in the city. It is not raining anymore!

The  abbaye Saint-Pierre . Since 1998,  the church and cloisters have had international protection as part of a World Heritage Site “Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France “.

I really like the sculptures of the French artist Toutain.

Now that this adventure is finished , we will return to Toulouse for two nights and  continue our traveling  in   Southern France  and Spain ( Catalonia) . More to come next week! Thanks for reading.

 

 

On the Gr65. Day 8

Each day, we are ready earlier. It means  two things. We are getting stronger  and we sleep so well that we are ready to start  walking as early as possible. When we leave the gite it is still a bit dark  ( shortly after 8 AM) . The sky is wonderful. I need to capture  this moment.

We follow the road, the same road  we were able to see from our bedroom window.

We are enjoying the moment. Our body knows well that this is another day on our feet. How many km will we do on day 8 ?  29 km counting the steps we do when we arrive in Lauzerte.

But before we get there , we pass the town of Montcuq. We do not visit. We prefer to get going and have more time when we will get to our destination.

We stop later to have our picnic. We see donkeys and sunflowers. We also see a few pilgrims. It feels good to know we are not alone in that adventure.

We arrive in Lauzerte and we have to climb  a street to get to our gite. Les Figuiers.       A very friendly  couple  runs this gite. We have booked a room instead of sleeping in a dorm.  Each room has a name. Our room is called Marguerite  and we have a great view on the area.

We have time to go to  the town center.  It means we have to climb a little more. But it is worthwhile. We are enjoying it very much , the Church, the square, the beer we are having with other pilgrims and the good weather. Is it possible to say we are having the time of our life ?

At  7 pm we have to be back in our gite for dinner. And it is quite a great dinner with  apero, soup, prosciutto and melon, sausage, ratatouille, cheese, desert and wine as we wish ! We are a good group at the table. Across the table is a man from Mexico. He does not speak French and not much English either. So I  have to communicate in Spanish with him and he shares with me the reason of his pilgrimage. He plans on walking all the way to Santiago in Spain.

Another great day. We feel fine. We are happy.

Thank you for reading and comments.

 

On the Gr65- Day 7

September 28.  Walking from Cahors to Lascabanes. Should be 22 km. But we will end up with 25km …

We  leave our CH. Walk by the side of the road.  We take some time to walk on the famous Valentré  Bridge, a fortified bridge of the 14th century. There are a few pilgrims coming from the other side. One of those offers  to take a pic of us.

And then we get on the trail. It is a big climb . When we are at the top we have a great view on the bridge and the city of Cahors.

Sometimes we walk without talking, sometimes we chat. I always take photos.

I try not to slow down our pace that is fairly fast.  Soon enough it is time to eat ( again). We don’t find a table so we just sit by the side of the trail and we enjoy our food. We see some pilgrims passing by.  The weather is quite warm. I like it.

We arrive in Lascabanes around 3 pm. The lady ( Cecile) in charge of the gite  Le Nid des Anges is there but soon she has to leave. She is a very friendly person and very busy . I  still think she was an angel  just like the name of her  hostel ( gîte d’étape). This gîte d’étape  used to be the presbytery of the church that is just beside.

We are like at home. We find our room, take our shower. We also walk in the village (very small). We have time to enjoy a local beer and talk with other pilgrims before we get to the church for a special celebration.

The priest likes to talk to the pilgrims and has a ritual of washing the feet as Jesus did to his apostles. In fact , he washes one feet.  We are a  little group of pilgrims in the church.

After it is time to enjoy a delicious dinner. At the table, French, Swiss and Canadian. We are in good spirit and feel like a big family.

What a great day !  We are happy and  thinking we only have two  more days to walk is also  exciting. It kind of gives us the energy we need to complete what we wanted to do for this time on the Camino.  The story of the next day will be posted next Friday. Thanks for reading.

On the Gr-65. Day 6

Leaving Bach to go to  Cahors.

This is the beginning of our 6th day. After breakfast, we walk along the road ( on the safer side) as the traffic is going quite fast. I can see my long shadow…

We reach the town and soon we are peacefully walking on a trail.

We see sheep, a field with lavender. Once we meet a group of walkers and I tell them what happen to us the day before ( they were also looking at the post in front of that gite but were not staying there).

The weather is really nice for the end of September but we see that  the leaves are getting the fall colors.

 

We find a table for our picnic and soon we arrive in Cahors. Cahors is not a small village. For us it is almost too big .

We really   like the small villages. We have booked a room in a CH. We  get a map of the city ( in a little  kiosk at the  end of the bridge you see above )  and then  we find the house where we will stay for the night.

After a shower and a little rest, we must go and visit although we do not really want to add  more steps to our day. We see interesting architecture. I had advice from Frederique ( the owner of our CH) so we wander in the most interesting part of the city.  The old town features half-timbered houses and narrow alleyways. Imposing Cathédrale St-Étienne  was built in Gothic and Romanesque styles, with large domes and centuries-old frescoes.

Just in front of the Cathedral, by chance,  we see again Thomas ( the German guy we talked a few times since we started walking ). He  will take the train the next day to go back home. His pilgrimage is finished.

Of course this city is know for the Pont Valentré, a medieval bridge with 3 towers. We will walk on it the next day before we go on the trail.

Cahors is a lovely town  but we are not like tourists who spent the day in a car. What we need  is food and rest.  In our CH/gite  there are a few other pilgrims but we only going to see them the next day.

After walking here and there for  while – and taking some photos, we find a place for dinner ( just a very casual restaurant)  and return to our CH. At the end of the day my FitBit marks 34.34 km. I believe that the more you walk  you get stronger. Our feet get used to the demand.  We do not have blisters and our back is not sore from carrying our bags. That is good ! My spirit is good as long as the weather is good. And I like to meet nice people.

This is the story of our day 6. So we have 3 more days to go. Thanks again for  reading and comments.

 

On the Gr-65. Day 5

Day 5. St-Jean de Laur to Bach.

Well rested after that night in the quiet gite Mas de Jantille.

After  good breakfast, we are ready to go. No rain ! Every morning it is easier to get organized . By 8:30 we are on the trail. This day is not going to be  so long, only 20km.

I mostly stay behind and look for anything unusual or interesting. 

It is quiet on the camino. Feeling that the trail belonged to us only. Around mid-day we try to find a good spot to have our lunch.

Luckily we arrive in a place where there is a bench. I don’t think we walk very fast  but at 2:30 pm we are in Bach.

We see that the gite ( where we had planned to stay that night) is not open yet. So we walk some more to get to the village. We find the church ( open) and a bench. Actually my feet are sore and I am more than happy to sit down.

To make a long story short. When we go back to the gite at 3 pm  and ring the bell, we do not get a very nice welcome.

I am rather surprised. It looked like they had forgotten about my reservation. I knew they had confirmed with me ( via email)  that they would be having a bed for us on that day  but I couldn’t show the message on my cellular as  I  don’t have connection to prove that .  I started to think I made a mistake.   What I did not understand is that most pilgrims do not book ahead and this gite did not have a sign that said  closed.  They had other plans for the night and were not willing to accommodate us.  With this attitude from the owners, we were surprised.   I looked in my book  ( Miam Miam Dodo) and saw there was another gite in the town. The lady called and we got the OK that we could go. It was a bit outside the town (maybe one more km) so when we arrived we were more than happy to relax.

The lady was not there yet  but the door was open.  She arrived  shortly after us and we discuss about the dinner. I was happy that she did not mind to prepare something simple for us. Everywhere we could we liked to take the demie-pension ( dinner, bed and breakfast). Once again, we were the only 2 pilgrims in this gite. Relais Arc-en-Ciel was a bit old   but the lady was very nice . That day was a good lesson for us as we never  know what could happen on the way.

Later that night, I found the message  with the confirmation for the first gite ( Grange St-Jacques), so I followed up with the lady to tell her it was her mistake and not mine.

After dinner, we needed  to sleep and get ready for a longer day. It will be the story for next week.

Thanks for your comment. It is always nice to see what you think of this adventure, especially that day.

 

On the Gr-65, Day 4

Day 4. Grealou to St-Jean de Laur

We got up well rested. We took our breakfast upstairs in the kitchen of the house. I could see the sky and the great colors. I quickly took a picture.

When we were ready to leave the rain has started. We put our raincoat and covered our bags. We found the trail and followed it for a while but then we were not sure at all which direction to go.

We followed a trail but it was wrong. We backtracked our steps to only take another direction (walking along a road) and it was wrong also. We only  needed to see the markers:  two horizontal lines, one white, on red but there were nowhere. How frustrating! Finally a nice man driving saw us and stopped to tell us where to go and told us also that this section of the GR-65 was not very well marked.

I was so happy when we got back on track .The rain had stopped. We walked until we reached the town of Cajarc. We found a little park with a picnic table and we had something to eat. On the other side of the park , there were some public washrooms.

We walked through the town stopping quickly to see the inside of the church ( it was open).

And then walk, walk, walk. Mostly we were in the countryside. Fields of corn and sunflowers.

We only saw 2 pilgrims that day. There we going further than us.  I was really happy when we reached our gite, le Mas de Jantille. Roger and Colette have renovated this old farm to make this gite for the pilgrims. They have been doing the camino and they know exactly what we are our need.

Colette  welcomed us with a cold drink. We chatted a bit with her. I had  reserved our beds on line a few weeks before we left for our trip. That gite had 10 beds but that night we were the only one to stay there. We had time to do some wash, had a shower and rest a bit. We bought some food in the little “grocery store” of the gite. We chose what we wanted and put the money in a box. We cooked our dinner ( pasta  with sauce and cheese) and enjoyed some red wine.   We  prepared some boiled eggs to bring with us and eat the next day.

We were not going all the way to Santiago but those reminders were interesting to see.

Thanks for  reading my story on the Camino.

 

 

 

On the GR-65. Day 3

For our third day on the GR-65, we had plan to walk  with 3 French  pilgrims. We left Figeac and  started the day shortly after 8 AM. Again another morning when you warm up as you get going.  We had around 26 km to do on that day.

I was a bit upset when I realized I had lost a sock that was put outside my bag in order to dry. You get to bring as little clothing as possible   and you wash it when you can. Our friend Joelle fix the remaining sock with a good  safety pin. I had my lesson of the day.

We were having a good time with our friends. We stopped in a small village for a coffee. We saw some people participating in a running race. They were actually going in reverse of us so we   tried to step out of the way to give them a chance to go at their pace.

We saw some interesting buildings called “caselle”.  They can be used for animals or storage . The first picture below  here is not really a typical one  but on  the  following  photo you can see the difference in size.

The real “caselle”  are much smaller and are used as a shelter . The name for those buildings  can be capitelle or borie.

A capitelle is a dry stone hut, made without mortar, formerly serving as temporary shelter for small landowners, their tools and their agricultural products.

A borie is a dry stone structure, usually a one-room cabin. The smallest can be a single low room where a shepherd could resist a storm or a cold night. More generally, the single borie piece is large enough to stand up, with space for a fire and often a shelf or two in thick stone walls.

After our picnic , our friends took another trail . I know this choice was a good one  and I hope to walk over there another time. There are many alternate trails  (variante) from the main “chemin”. No matter where you walk you will always see something interesting. And if you don’t care much for the landscapes, you can just meditate and count your steps.

We arrived in Grealou  very tired. We had trouble finding our CH  but at last we got there. All we wanted to do was to have a cold drink, a shower and a little rest. This is the  house  where we stayed that night. No other pilgrims here . The friendly lady is renting a room and offer the dinner.

We were in a very small village without restaurants or stores. We had plan to have dinner with the family. It was nice to know about the area and talk to “the locals”. Our dinner was excellent . What was interesting for us is that each day was not the same except for the walk. I guess we were happy to get going  on our adventure. More on our adventure next week. Thanks for reading !