Day Ten

There’s something going on today, isn’t there?! For some reason I know it’s Friday….ahh of course, Jaz has the day off college and mum is watching tv all day. It’s the royal wedding! Funny how everyone has a day off in the UK, unless of course you’re needed to serve beer, food or fix stuff, (and if you are a fixer can you charge double being self employed). What a royal waste of taxpayers money! There was a time when the monarchy stood for something but those times have past.
Look at me ranting already and I haven’t even begun to tell you about my day.
Well my iPhone got some use last night playing music, not so much snoring as creaky bunk beds all around. I slept fairly well (I think), and I was up and away by 7.15am.
It was a slow decent right to the bottom of the valley at Conques, cross a historic (I say historic, it looked really old) foot bridge. Guess what, then I start climbing out the other bloody side of the valley, it’s 7.30am for Christ’s sake, (well you deserve that upstairs, making me do this so early).
At this time id like to point out my spiritual journey hasn’t yet begun (as far as I’m aware). Saying this I walk with an empty head already, everyone else tells of having to clear their minds of everyday thoughts, but mine aren’t there anyway. All I think of is how far do I have to walk today and to be fair these thoughts are sporadic at most.
I take in everything around me, from the hazy landscapes to the birds, butterflies and bugs. The sounds of the crickets, the skylarks (& other birds) and the wind moving over the trees and fields. Even the scents are bombarding me, from the strong farm smells and car engines to the sweet blossoms and flowers.
Today has been the first time I’ve noticed it. When I was walking with Annette & Marcus, they too, noticed and appreciated their surroundings. Everyone else I have come across seems to be marching across the landscape with no knowledge of what’s around them, they see the churches and put another stamp in their pilgrim passport, but they’re missing the point! Yes, history is truly magnificent and these old churches and villages are stunning. But it’s the people we meet, the lives we change, the difference we make in the world around us, that’s what we have to take in and appreciate, the here & now.
This probably has no relevance here but Paulo Coelho sent me a simple sentence when I first started planning to walk the route for UNICEF and not just selfishly for myself. It goes – ‘How many times have we completely altered the original blueprint of our lives by changed one simple brick.’
Right, that’s my second rant, even if a little righteous, sorry.
So after I’d climbed out of the other side of the valley, it was fairly easy going along the ridge line over to Decazeville, which has the largest opencast coalmine in Europe. From the ridge line down to Decazeville and back up the other side of the valley, hmmmm. Tired lots and I still hadn’t past a cafe or shop. It was only another 4km to Livinhac-le-Haut where I was planning to stop for the night, again a sensible 23.5km. Well, despite the climbing and decending, the view coming down to Livinhac was stunning with the river Lot, meandering through the landscape and around the town. I finally arrived in town at just after one, so everything was closed. Ok, the bar was open, so I had a crusty baguette and a refreshing coke. Sitting down opposite a French Canadian, she didn’t really speak English, I really don’t speak French (except for my ‘avez vous un chambre’ routine). But we managed to persuade each other that it was far to early to stop walking, so we should continue!
Why… Why is it always me in these situations?! So tomorrow would have been a slightly harder day. The moment we left I knew it was all uphill… I’m so not happy, to make matters worse she’s walking faster than me, she’s bigger than me?! (bet her backpack doesn’t weight nearly 30kilos though does it)… We arrive at the hilltop village of Montredon. I am not walking any further, and if I have to I’m taking the road route to Figeac! As it happens we find a gîte on the far side of the village. Despite being surrounded by French speaking old people, it is quite lovely.
The total today is 30km, meaning I only have 23km to Figeac tomorrow.
(And then I’m having a days rest on Sunday)


About waytosantiago

The way of St. James is one of the three largest Christian pilgrimages of the world. I intend to walk one of the many routes which begins in le Puy en Velay, France. The route has been trodden by many weary souls, looking for answers, looking for adventure, for the obvious religious reasons, or just walked for the sake of it. I first came across the route about 6 years ago whilst reading Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Pilgrimage’, I decided maybe something could be learnt from spending so much time on the road in solitude. Being the kind of person that lives to work, these ideas were put on hold whilst my life moved steadily forward. Recently I’ve found myself longing for adventure and decided it was time to begin planning. Another thing I decided was if I was going to do this, I may as well try and raise money for charity along the way. So the story begins...
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