Saturday, May 28, 2016

Day 3 La Clauze to St-Alban-sur-Limagnole

We all slept soundly last night in the dorms of 3-4 people. Everyone wanted to get an early start and the owner of the house obliged with an early breakfast. Coffee, crusty, fresh baguettes, homemade jam - it was absolutely delicious. 

We left at different times but it is fun how you bump into people you know throughout the day.

It was another challenging walk of 26 km with lots of hillclimbing and descending. We went through farms, forest trails (glorious, iridescent green, mountain ash) and bushland.

We passed fields of cows and horses and saw colourful beetles and lizards crossing our path.

The rain that was forecast for yesterday did not eventuate today. Au contraire - it was a lovely blue sky with plenty of sunshine and temperatures up into the mid 20s.

We have crossed from the region of the Haute-Loire to the department of Lozere. 

Phone calls in French
I (Lyn) have been needing to make phone calls each day to confirm accommodation. They go something like this. I raise myself to my full height, take 3 very deep breaths, say out loud in a convincing voice: I can do this - and proceed to dial the number. None of this is helped by Geoff laughing in the background and telling me just to get on with it. After my set little spiel of introducing myself and giving the reason for my call, I cower beneath a fusillade of rapid fire French that I can't understand a word of and that seems to go on for much longer than necessary.  By the tone, the person seems to be saying - Sorry we don't have a booking under that name and I'm sorry to say that all the accommodation in the area is booked, too. You will need to sleep rough tonight under the trees but please don't freeze to death because we don't have time to clean up the mess. I now know that this means: All good. We then end with 3 repetitions of: See you soon / goodbye. Done . . . for another day. 

We have really gone up market tonight. We have got sheets and towels – what a treat!

Have just returned from dinner which was included in the tariff. They placed us with a French pilgrim who is traveling by cycle. Pierre didn't have a word of English so it was hard going. He is from Le Puy. 

They cooked and served the local specialty which again was a sausage dish with potatoes and cheese - La Truffade. We have had this four times (and sausages three times) in our first week but it is delicious and hearty. 

Interesting the way they serve the cheese course before the final dessert. We took a good wedge of the three different cheeses and then offered it to Pierre who refrained because he had had heart surgery two years ago. This made us think we had a heart attack sitting on our plates. 

For the entree we had a salad with something like a loaf that was full of prunes. The dessert was also filled with prunes. They must be catering to constipated pilgrims. It has taken me three days to get my (Geoff's) constitution into stable condition but it took only one meal to lose my equilibrium. I bounded up the stairs three at a time to our room before I could say 'Bonne Nuit'. 

C'est la vie

Geoff & Lyn

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