The farm house was wonderful and we had a great sleep. We left at 6 a.m. and started to make our way to the Chemin. We tried to reserve beds in Lascabanes, but the Gites and Chambre d’Hotes were full. The farm was 2 kilometers off the Chemin. The Madame showed us how to get back to the Chemin on a map without having to go back all the way to where we left it. Good! We followed her instructions and walked through thigh high grass and a freshly plowed field. Just when we were wondering where we were we heard vehicles not far from us. She had told us that the path would lead to a road. We found a path through the trees and found the road. The names on the signs were not matching the names on our map and in our books. Leap of faith! We just kept walking, finally we saw the sign we were looking for.
Pictured: The sign we are grateful for!
When we found the other landmark we were looking for, a road number, we turned left and kept walking. After four hours of walking we found the route we were looking for. Now we had eight miles to go.
Pictured: a work of art on the way to Lauzerte.
Now we could settle in. Not only did we see the beautiful cross, there were also works of art using recyclables along the way.
As we left the Gite we found ourselves walking along the road without the red and white Chemin markers that we rely on so much. What have we done? We thought we were listening. Where are the pilgrims? Finally we saw a sign for Lascabanes. We knew that we had to walk through the village before we could continue on. As soon as we entered the village we saw the red and white markings on a street sign. It was a great day for walking.
Pictured: A horse and rider pass by during a break.
Our bodies are very accustomed to the routine and even though our packs aren’t actually lighter they seem to be lighter. At one of our first breaks we saw Carmen and Luis. They are talking it easy today. Gites and Chambre d’Hotes seem to be filling up more and more now.
Pictured: the Farm Gite in Les Vignals.
We arrived at the Ferme Gite in Les Vignals. We have a private room in a wonderful home with a huge porch. We are able to take care of everything that we need to do.
A woman, Marie from Belgium, is at the Gite. She speaks English, she has been helpful and fun. I showed pictures of the Chemin so far and everyone could either relate to the pictures or have taken the same ones themselves.
Vern and I left early this morning from the Gite and in a few minutes we were on the Chemin, (Camino). After walking for a few miles we saw a sign and then checked our books. It seemed that we would be able to take a variant route and not have to go to Cahors. When we arrived at the junction it was not clearly marked. We decided to stay on the marked route.
Pictured: The first view of the Pont Valentre with three towers in the background. (Cahors).
We are grateful that we did not pass by this city. It was a great walk and we enjoyed our time at the Pilgrim Welcome Center.
Thank you to our hostess at the Pilgrim Welcome Center
We continued through Cahors and continued the long walk toward Lascabanes. The Gite we are staying at is in Le Rosiere a few kilometers before Lascabanes.
Pictured: The “scene” in front of the Gite.
There are many Pilgrims here. We are with every Pilgrim from the Gite at Le Pech. Great meal and wonderful time this evening. We recognize many faces!
We left as early as we could today after our breakfast. It was already warm. Michelle, the Madame, told us that there will not be any stores, cafes, or bars on the way to Le Pech today. We had a sandwich, cookies, and chocolate squares…..energy food for Pilgrims. The path today was mostly dirt track and a lot of shade. I am increasing my speed a little everyday so that I can walk more miles while it is still cool.
After a short way from Bach we saw a deer jumping over a stone wall. Soon a pilgrim was passing us. He is from Italy and said that walking on the pavement was hurting his feet. When we get to Le Pech we will start to make a tentative plan of destinations for the next few days taking into consideration the mileage that we want to walk. More and more people are walking and reservations are much more accepted and expected here than what we knew to be true in Spain. It is more casual in France, though, when you have a reservation you are able to enter the Gite at anytime during the day if your name is on the door. That has been our experience.
Pictured: Vern walking across a stone bridge on the way to Le Pech.
7.5 Miles, 12 Kilometers. Total Miles to date: 194.8. Total Kilometers to date: 312.2.
Written on May 10, 2012.
It was so warm this morning that when we left at 7:30 a.m. I did not wear my windbreaker, just a tank top. It was so awesome to not be climbing up and up when leaving a village. Still lots of rocks but it keeps me alert. After four miles of walking we stopped in a village to get something at the market and saw Carmen and Louis. Before entering the village we had seen the four Canadians that we had met at the Chapelle Sain’t-Roch. We called from the village and spoke to a young woman to make a reservation at a Gite in Bach, Gite d’etape Relais Arc-en-Ciel. When we arrived we were the first ones. It is a beautiful Gite. We love our room . Cleaned up, washed clothes, and took a nap. Chloe was preparing our evening meal. She had her laptop in the kitchen and was listening to American metal music. Soon we had a roommate…George from Paris. He speaks English and is helping me pronounce names of towns and villages on the Chemin. Our dinner was wonderful..a lot of fun.
Thanks to Chloe and Michelle for a Gite that is more like a home!
Pictured: Michelle and Cici.
Pictured: A small Chapel in the rock wall in front of Gite Relias Arc-en-Ciel.
We had met Jonive yesterday on the Camino and were glad to see him at the Gite In the afternoon. He helped us understand what was being said and told others what we were saying. At one point people were again trying to help me with my pronounciation of basic French words. It was so comical that one of the pilgrims started filming all of the adults making mooing sounds so that I could say Monsieur.
Pictured: A beautiful entry way on the road to Cajarc.
Pictured: A creative No Trespassing sign.
We were later told that there really were snakes in this area. A lady Pilgrim at dinner told us that as she was walking through the area a viper was trying to eat a lizard…the lizard escaped and ran through the lady’s legs with the snake close behind. She was so startled that she fell down, luckily on her backpack, but did break part of her camera.
The walk to Cajarc was the beginning of many miles of walking on rocks of all shapes and sizes. Occasionally there were dirt paths that were easy to walk on.
This morning as we were leaving our room we intended to go directly to the Post Office to pick up a package that I had prepared for mailing before we left home. On the way to the Post Office we saw a grocery store. We have learned that when you see a store that is open it is a good idea to get what you need. Before entering the Post Office I was practicing the sentence for “do you have a package for me?”. When I showed my passport they immediately went to get my package. I have discovered that while walking long distances it helps me to have Accelerade. It is an electrolyte replacement and nutritional drink. It is a powder and I just add water. Also in my package was Endurox, a muscle recovery drink that helps me after walking for the day.
Pictured: A Camino “greeter” just outside of Figeac.
Tomorrow is a holiday so there are a lot of walkers today. We are enjoying the level areas that are more frequent now. Each day the surrounding area is more plush and beautiful.
We are starting to see shephard huts in shapes and sizes that we had not seen before. Wild flowers are blooming.
On the way to Grealou we met pilgrims who were already at the Gite when we arrived. We are staying at a Gite that is called EcoOasis. The owners are very eco conscious. The food is organic and delicious.We had fun at dinner.
Pictured: A photo that I couldn’t resist between Conques and Livinhac-le-Haut.
This morning we were able to be on the Camino by 7:15 a.m. We were almost immediately going straight uphill. The hills we have been climbing make the hills we trained on seem like flat ground. We walked up to Chapelle Saint-Foy 1 mile from the campground. It was a quaint chapel and a good rest stop. Chapelle Saint-Foy was the site of a local pilgrimage. The chapel is built by a spring whose waters were reputed to be miraculous cures for eye complaints.
Pictured: Chapelle Saint-Roch.
The Chapelle Saint-Roch is almost 1-1/2 miles past the village of Noailhac.
A sculpture or statue of Saint Roch almost always has his robe pulled back showing a mark or wound on his leg and he usually has a dog. St. Roch was a healer who helped the sick. He eventually fell ill himself and exposed his sores to warn others.
Pictured: Saint Roch.
After I came out of Chapelle Saint-Roch two couples came up to the picnic table that we were sitting at. They started speaking English. We were surprised! To date we have met only one American: Barbara from Monterey, California. The two couples were Canadian. It was fun to all speak with each other. It was time for us to leave and we continued our walk. It is a beautiful day and my pack is much lighter after going to the post office in Conques. We waited to be out of snow country before sending a few things home. As we got closer to Livinhac I could hear thunder all around us. It wasn’t raining but the thunder was prompting me to walk faster and stay ahead of the storm. We entered Livinhac and looked for the campground. Mobile homes are priced reasonably and we sleep well in them.
Pictured: A view of the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy and the Village of Conques
Pictured: Tympanum of the Last Judgement scene on the main doorway of the Abbey.
Pictured: Another view of Conques.
Thank you to our Host and Hostess at Camping Beau Rivage, Conques, France
For two nights in Conques we have stayed in a mobile home in a campground. It has been relaxing and serene. The food has been great! Many pilgrims had suggested that we stay in Conques for two nights in order to explore this World Heritage Center. It is a wonderful village, a historical monument that is worth the stay.
Day Fourteen. 5.7 Miles. 9 Kilometers. To date: 126.8 Miles, 203 Kilometers.
Written on May 3, 2012
Pictured: Flower pot figures on the way to Conques.
We are grateful for a short day. The Gite, Domaine de Senos, in Senergues was wonderful. We were in a two room “dorm” with our friend, Michel, in his own room and Vern and I in the other. There was a bunkbed in our room but no one else arrived. The food was wonderful. This Gite has everything to renew and refresh a Pilgrim that anyone could ask for. Michel, Francois, Roland, Vern, and I left about the same time and would walk for awhile and then see each other when breaks were needed. The mud was minimal today and the walk was pleasant. I am resting more. It is apparent that we will need to start earlier in the mornings. Breakfast is offered at most Gites…serving time usually is at 7 a.m. It is better for us to start earlier. To walk in the cooler weather and to arrive in a village or town while there is plenty of time to rest, shower, and launder before dinner helps us have more energy for a full day of walking.
Pictured: Stained glass window with three scallop shells at Church of Saint-Marcel.
One of the breaks today was in Saint-Marcel, a small village with a church, table, bench, and friendly dog named Yes.
After Saint-Marcel the Camino went downhill for approximately 2.5 miles. We carefully made our way down steep rocky creekbeds with a web of roots. At one point I slipped on a rock and did not have my stick far enough out to catch myself. The added weight of the bag put me off balance and I fell back onto my backpack. I briefly felt like a turtle that landed on my back. I quickly unfastened my pack so I could start to get up. The rocky path was extremely narrow and I knew that I was in the way. Just about the time that I got myself and my bag to one side a young man came running by at top speed. He seemed to be flying over the rocks. I was going in slow motion and fell. Vern saw me laying in the rocks and came back to help me. A few minutes later we saw Roland and Francois. They noticed that my right elbow was scraped and they applied ointment and a bandaid. Then on to awesome Conques. We are looking forward to exploring this incredible place.