Grealou to Cajarc

Day 19. 6.7 miles, 10 k.

Written on May 8, 2012.

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.


Estaing to Golinhac

Day Twelve. 10 Miles, 16 Kilometers.

Written on May 1, 2012

Pictured: A shady path leading to Golinhac.

Today it is important for me to say that I now feel stronger and more settled into the terrain and routine of the Chemin in France. My pace is still slower than most but I now feel more in synch with the route and the terrain. Today was an enjoyable walk from Estaing. Beautiful rolling hills. We are now seeing more and more people that we recognize from the Gites, cafes or just walking on the Chemin. There seems to be a party everywhere we go. Someone is always helping me with my French pronounciations and have a lot of fun doing so . Most people now just call us Californie, (Cal-a-forn-ee). Nancy is possible to say, but Vern seems difficult. Once we got to the summit of yet another mountain the walk, for me was enjoyable…perfect spring weather and perfect company. While Vern and I were taking a break here comes the three brothers. We met them two days ago in Saint-Come d’Olt and have been seeing them ever since. One brother, Jacques, always says to us…SPEAK WITH YOUR HANDS!!

Pictured: Pierre, Jacques, and Jean-Claude (3 brothers)

Today we saw Jean-Michel and Christine again from Saint-Come d’Olt. We had an afternoon beverage with them at the Gite snack bar. It was fun to show each other where we live by using google maps. It still amazes me that I can zoom right in on our home and others in a matter of seconds. We were even able to show them downtown Gasquet! Awhile later we walked from the Gite to the restaurant. The Gite is part of a large facility: campground and many chalets.

Montbonnet to Monistrol-d’Allier

Day Two. 9 miles (14.4 kilometers) written on April 21, 2012.

Surprises and Celebration on the Camino.

Vern is shown here on his birthday with an ancient Camino de Santiago marker in the background.

This morning I signed and sealed the birthday card that I had brought with me from the U.S. and handed to Vern for his 60th birthday. Aloin, (who we now refer to as Nice Boy), Evelyne, and Yannick said happy birthday to Vern. Soon it was time for us to leave.

We had been on the trail for awhile when Evelyne, Yannick, and Aloin caught up with us. They immediately started singing Happy Birthday to Vern in perfect English! A few miles further we saw a note on a stick. We thought it was some information about the trail. It was a note with “Happy Birthday Vern” written on it. How thoughtful! They are fast walkers, but not walking so fast that they are not thinking of others. So as we walked further and the hours went by there were more wonderful and thoughtful messages to Vern.

It was a good day for surprises! The hike was steep, up and down over slick boulders and roots. It was a good second day of walking thanks to our friends and the warmth of the “French Camino”.


Gite l’Escole, Montbonnet

Shown is: Yannick, Evelyne, Aloin, and Jean-Michel of Gite l’Escole

Written on April 21, 2012.

After we settled into the Gite, (hostel), we took care of necessities. A routine of: hand wash clothes that I wore, hang out the clothes, and take a shower. A nap is something that I usually try to avoid, but on the Camino it is an essential part of my day. Soon three more Pilgrims, (Pelerins in France), arrived at the Gite. We soon met and spoke with each other the best that we could. Yannick, Evelyne, and Aloin settled in and soon it was time for dinner. Jean-Michel and his wife prepared a wonderful meal of roasted chicken, noodles, salad, bread, cheese, etc. we enjoyed ourselves and the meal was just what we needed! When Jean-Michel came back to retrieve the leftovers, the fun began! There were conversations going on in French and English. We all did the best we could to understand what was being said….hand gestures helped a lot. Jean-Michel sang the Pelerin song, (Ulteria). When I took out my iPad to show everyone my blog Jean-Michel put his arm around me and waved bye bye to Vern. We all laughed and knew that it was not the only time that Yannick, Evelyne, Aloin, Vern and I would be together. It was a wonderful first evening on the Camino (Chemin). For me, there is a richness to an experience where words are not free-flowing.

Le Puy: Beauty and Laughter!

For months I have been looking at pictures of Le Puy-en-Velay, France. I have read about the beautiful structures built on top of volcanic chimneys and the statues that rise up far above the “skyline” of Le Puy. The ancient Pilgrimages and the Saints revered here are just a small part of the history of this unique and beautiful place. As we drove toward Le Puy there was a turnout on the road to enjoy the magnificence of the view. This is the moment that I have planned, visualized, and contemplated for at least a year…wow, cool:)!When we arrived into town the first thing I needed to do was go to the restroom. In France it is questioned why anyone would want to go to the toilet to rest or why you would want to go to the toilet to take a bath as in “bathroom”. I can fully understand these questions. We had found a public toilet. Vern went in first. As soon as he came out I immediately went in. As soon as I started to get near the toilet the lid raised straight up and massive amounts of cleaner and water sprayed onto the toilet and the surrounding areas. I tried to get out while Vern was yelling at me to open the door. The door would not open as it was locked down while the cleaning was taking place. As I was getting sprayed with water and an assortment of unknowns I tried desperately to get the seat down. More, now than ever I needed to get the seat down because I was laughing and could not stop. It was one of the funniest situations I have ever been in. After the cleaning cycle had ended the door could be opened. That would have been wonderful to have a video of, but I will always have the memory of how much fun I had in that “bathroom”. As I left the area I noticed that there was a message in French on front of the toilet. It is quite possible that it said “do not enter before the cleaning cycle has taken place.” While in Germany last year I also had an experience while going to the “restroom”.