Arrived at the cathedral of notre-dame in le Puy for 7am mass and pilgrims blessings. I would estimate there were at least 30 people ready to set off, some just doing a section whilst others like myself would be attempting the whole distance. Turns out I was the only one (at least to admit it) who could not speak French?!
After a quick coffee with the old folks, I donned my gear and set off following the guide book’s directions, it wasn’t long until I no longer needed it as the way is very well waymarked.
Although the day had started off fairly chilly it soon warmed up and I got into my stride….for at least 5km until I realised my new (and expensive) walking boots that every friggin’ expert said I needed, were not being kind to my feet! After 15km I stopped in a village by the name of Montbonnet. After waiting aimlessly outside the gite d’etape for almost an hour, I, being in a strop by now, walked up the road and found a bar, aptly called bar St. Jaques. The owners were very hospitable and I booked myself into one of their rooms. Quickly getting my boots off I found not one but three blisters… Balls!!!
I can’t blame Euan at Ellis Brigham in Bristol as he only suggested I consider proper boots, I can however name & blame Barkers of Ringwood, who supposedly hold the largest stock of outdoor boots in the UK and who claim they won’t sell you boots unless they themselves are happy with the fit…! Well guys, it may take me a few months to get back to you, but be warned, after all you’re measuring and spiel about proper boots. I’m coming back to you to complain!
(at this point I’d like to make a quick note to anyone considering this pilgrim route or any other. Stick with your gut instincts, if you want to wear boots that you’ve worn every day for years, knowing that when they’re about to fall apart you can go to the shop, or order online, without the need to try them on, then wear them. Do not listen to so called experts a) that work in shops, because they don’t know jack, or b) that write in magazines, because 90% of the time they’re biased as to who is giving them the most freebies or money for advertising).
Aahhh rant over.
So anyway, I washed my socks & pants (and myself), read a little and then after a brief hello from the folks who came to my rescue with my old boots (thank you thank you thank you). I briefly spoke to my beautiful girl back at home and then by, ooh, I don’t know, 7.30pm, I was in bed!
These blisters need to heal fast!!!