Friday, May 27, 2016

Holier Than Thou


I will be crossing this pedestrian bridge (Pont Valentre) when I hike out of Cahors tomorrow morning. I am always impressed that such impressive structures were constructed more than 800 years ago without modern machines. And are still standing!

I made it as far as the first tower today and was definitely nervous on these uneven stairs which had no hand rails. 


Even on my rest days I end up walking quite a few miles, and today was no exception. I love exploring these ancient towns and villages. I thought this old system to divert water for the town was pretty cool. 


I've seen several very impressive churches and cathedrals on this trip, and Saint Stevens was right up there. I didn't feel out of place being my usual "holier than thou" self in the cloisters there today. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Heart All A Flutter


I see lots of these bright blue butterflies flitting along the trail, but when they land the blue disappears. Today this butterfly found a friend and kept its wings open while they chatted. 


Those of you who have been reading my blog have discovered (along with me) about my laundry fetish. Normally I have to do my washing in a tiny hotel sink; but yesterday the convent I stayed at had serious washing sinks with sloping sides. I was able to pound and knead to my hearts content. 

On the way out of town my heart was all a flutter when I found an all-out laundry venue. This was the kind of place where you could wade in and put your whole body into getting clothes properly clean. 




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting There


I do seem to be making progress, according to this sign I've walked more than 323 kilometers so far. Don't convert it to miles, it's a much bigger number in kilometers. 

We've been passing lots of shepherds' bouries the past couple of days. They are pretty cool stone huts made by shepherds tending their flocks back in the day. They're built a little like igloos, just stone piled on stone with no mortar, and they're cozy and completely dry inside. 


We've also passed a couple prehistoric dolmens, vertical stone slabs topped by a large horizontal one. My buddy, Henk from the Netherlands, tells me that they buried kings under them back in the old days. 






Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not Too Proud


I've been hanging with a couple of kiwis the past few days. Today they implied that I wasn't a serious photographer because I wasn't taking artistic shots of the mossy rock walls along the path. 

So, bowing to peer pressure, here is my photograph of a mossy rock wall. 


Yes, that is me napping by the side of the road with my clean laundry drying on a fence. I am not too proud to do what it takes to have dry clothes to change into after my shower tonight. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

What Is Wrong With Me?


Okaaayyy...

A couple of days ago I had a perfect hiking day: the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it was nice and warm. Yet it was the worst day of my trip. I was even considering ending my walk. 

Today it was cold and rainy, my boots were still wet inside when I put them on, this stage was my longest ever - and I LOVED IT. 

What is wrong with me?


I found a big cave in the cliff face as I was descending to get to my destination town this afternoon. Near my feet in the photo is a stream which emerged from a small hole at the back of the cave.  The opening was too tiny to squeeze through, but I could hear the roar of a waterfall on the other side. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Minutes vs Days


Roc-Amadour is yet another of those impossibly spectacular villages along my route. And here (second photo) is how it probably looks when rain is not pouring down. 


After yesterday's too long trek, I decided to make this quick side trip, and am really glad I did. The train ride was only forty comfortable minutes of sitting (for which I now have a special appreciation), instead of two days walking each way, followed by an easy two mile stroll along a lovely bridle path and I was there. Maybe there's a better way of seeing the sights than how I've been doing it...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stripping


Today marks two weeks of walking for me on the Chemin Saint Jacques. This was my longest stage and I barely managed to crawl into the bathtub this afternoon. I'm so beat that I haven't begun my laundry yet; and for those of you who've been following my exploits, you know that means we're talking total exhaustion here. 

Two weeks and today was the first time I've worn shorts. Hooray! 


The French are big into crop rotation and letting their fields go fallow for a year or two. Sometimes I see entire fields of dandelions, which I never see at home, so I've been a little fascinated by them.