Day 4 - 29/5: Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole to Les Quatre Chemins - 25.6 kms
Poncho-clad, we left in the drizzle today and according to the locals it's going to be raining for the next three days. The rain didn't really let up all day, although we managed to snatch a quick picnic on a park bench for lunch. We love walking in the rain and marvelling at the freshly cleansed countryside.
The terrain was treacherous, in parts, with lots of uphill, slippery, tree-root criss-crossed paths. The wind billowed out our ponchos fit to lift us up and out into the stratosphere (well . . . maybe not Geoff). We passed by lots of fields of cows; it's unnerving when they stand perfectly still, en masse, and stare at you rather superciliously. I'm sure they were thinking in unison: 'Who do you think you are, you ridiculous looking twits! Don't you know you're in France, the land of haute couture - not sodden ponchos? Go and put something decent on!
We are loving the sheer isolation of this Camino - just the two us most of the time, right out in the sticks, walking through quaint little farming villages and the superb French countryside. There seem to be only about 6-8 of us on the same stretch right now and it's a bit like a family. We tend to meet up along the track from time to time and then some of us usually end up staying at the same gite so we enjoy dinner together. We met 2 Danish guys today who are walking as far as the Pyrenees, as we are. We also bumped into Daniel and have just had dinner with him. We came across another wiry little man who rushed past us at breakneck speed (he's up for shin splints tomorrow) dressed in a bright red top, even brighter orange pants and sporting a lime green pack. We named him the leprechaun.
The wayside chapels in this area appear to be simple and stark, in contrast to the Spanish ones that are dripping with gold and highly ornate with lots of filigree. We love this simplicity.
When we arrived at our gite in the mid afternoon it was locked up with no one around so we spent the next couple of hours in the local watering hole. There were some real characters coming in and sitting at the bar. Just the raw material for a French version of Coronation Street.
The proprietor eventually arrived and he pranced around showing us all the amenities. He was a real eccentric who enjoyed cracking jokes. He kept on gently flicking my little Arabic slipper earrings. I think this is the French adult equivalent of 'koochee koochee koo'. These earrings are my sole item of beauty ( it's not a fashion parade, Lyn).
Speaking of dinner, no prizes for guessing what we had. You guessed it - sausages - but this time with pasta. We have to say, the sausages are gourmet and absolutely delicious. We were laughing and joking with Daniel today about the way this would have to be all French people ever eat - sausages. So, he must have chatted to the proprietor of the gite who came to see us very concerned about whether or not we'd prefer eggs. I wonder how long we can keep this sausage caper going for? Sausages or not, we had a wonderful time over dinner with another couple of French women, plus the three of us. They struggled with a smattering of English, so were very understanding of our attempts at French.
C'est la vie
Geoff & Lyn