The days are starting to become a blur…. I look to my prescription packet to tell me what day it is but then wonder if I have even taken the pills?!
So, day 8, I think…!?! Well, as I told you yesterday, I was staying in a proper pilgrim hostel and I was feeling all ‘warm & fuzzy’, yeah scrap that.
The meal was lovely and hearty local Aveyron cuisine. After dinner I decided to just crash out and read, so I fell asleep. I was just in my sleeping bag liner, silk, supposed to give an extra five degrees to body heat. I had wanted to ask someone for a blanket as everyone else had one. Turns out I woke at midnight just after the last people were settling into their comfortable beds. I was cold. To make matters worse the lady on the bunk below was snoring like nothing you could possibly imagine. So much so that other murmurs came from around the room, tutting & tisking.
So a very restless night and I was out the door while everyone went to breakfast.
Estaing is a very pretty town on the banks of the river Lot. I was just about to take a picture from the far side of the bridge when I realised my lower back and backside were wet. What the f@€k… My amazing ‘Osprey’ hydration pack has sprung a leak, water all through the rucksack, sleeping bag (gives me an excuse to use it I suppose), and over me, not only that but if it’s a hot day (which it was) I may not have enough… I could die! (ok slight exaggeration but you get the drift). You wait till I get home Osprey, you’re no.2 on my hit list.
Rucksack repacked, hydration pack slung on the outside, and I set off, again. It’s just gone 8am. Within the first hour a sixty-seven year old passes me, Her name is Annette, and she is one of three who speak to me in English. She learnt English very quickly while working as a nurse in the States. The second to catch me up is Marcus, another one of the three. Marcus is from Switzerland and wants a change in career life. He has passed me several times over the last few days but last night was the first time we’d spoken. Instead of overtaking me today, he slows his pace slightly and walks with me. We talk about the reasons we’re both here, our girlfriends back at home and what they think about us going off for so long. When I slow uphills, he waits, I think sometimes it helps to have someone walking with you, even if we walk in silence. Finally we stop in a village for lunch. Annette and Jean-Baptiste are sat outside the little village store, it’s such a relief to take my backpack off. I sit and eat some dried meat, cheese and a can of orangina. After ten minutes I’m getting itchy feet, And so I make my leave. Within the next kilometre I can see Annette up ahead and Jean-Baptiste following behind me, this is kind of how I imagined it. A string of pilgrims walking across the landscape. Before long we were all marching downhill until we came across a little gite in Le Soulie, offering free tea & coffee, so we stopped. Marcus joined us as we sat and chatted.
Turns out the gite is being run by a German couple, he speaks good English. I’m staying…