Breakfast was quite an event. We needed a gendarme standing in the middle of the table just to direct the traffic. There were jars of jam with large dessert spoons sticking out of them and saucers of butter being slid from one corner of the table to the opposite, people reaching across a few others to get what they needed, and everyone was going for it - eating fast, dunking toasted baguette in coffee, applying lashings of butter & jam to toast in the hand and talking animatedly. I was waiting for the walking poles to be whipped out in order to swipe over a desired item. There were six varieties of homemade jam and everyone was enjoying them to the full. Meanwhile in the kitchen, in full view of everyone, out host and girlfriend were smooching away passionately in between dashing frantically around the table trying to keep up with diminishing supplies. There was nothing demure about breakfast this morning. One either had to join in the bun fight or go hungry.
This is one of our favourite gites so far - it had so much character and the hospitality felt authentic. The night before, our host was brusque, the last thing one needs after walking, exhausted, in the hot afternoon sun.Here, they were full of gentle kindness and went the second mile to ensure our comfort. A gift.
We left Figeac packed to the gunnels with food for the next couple of days, as there were no handy shops open on Sunday and no food to be had on the way. Not a trivial matter to the French, Figeac is the birthplace of Champollion, father of Egyptology, and there is much named after him in the town. We left, not only with full packs and stomachs but also feeling full to bursting with gratitude for this our 11th day of walking this French Camino.
After a very steep climb up the side of the valley, we were able to enjoy paths that were mostly mud free, aside from a couple of long stretches, and soft on the footfall. There was time to live into the silence, despite the birds that were partying in the trees full tilt.
We spent time today reflecting on fleeting encounters we have had with people criss-crossing our lives. Often we don't know their names but they have left a lasting impression on us.
We felt like saying 'excusez moi' a lot today as we walked right past people's living rooms or terraces.
We love the way a Camino slows you right down to appreciate minutiae - tiny cornflower blue butterflies flitting around us, red & black beetles scuttling across the road and ants carrying loads three times the length of their bodies. It is like an annual Life 101 for us - a total physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual workout. While we still have the energy, this is our type of annual time out.
It was great to arrive at our gite communal tonight and meet up with 3 Camino friends who we've walked with on and off. One is a woman (over 70 yrs) from Kentucky who is taking a few months to walk all the way to Santiago by herself, and who flew past us in the mud 3 days ago, yelling: I LOVE MUD! One of the guys staying in our gite, is holed up here for a few days with a broken kneecap. We are constantly grateful that we have made it through to Day 11 with no injuries.
It's been another memorable day.
Vive la France!
Geoff & Lyn