Today I awoke into darkness. Is it still night? No, someone closed the shutters and the curtains. Now there’s one thing that I enjoy about mornings, and that is waking up to the morning light. I could live in a glass house, I still wouldn’t close the curtains in my bedroom! But I won’t go on this morning.
I slept ok, I’m up, bag packed, and I’m about to leave but wait… I get talking to Mattias, he’s from a little town just south of Brussels where they make Stella Artois, he’s been on the road for two months now and he slept in an outbuilding because it didn’t cost him anything. I had briefly talked to him last night as he sat and watched the sunset over the far off hills, smoking his Camel cigarette. This morning I gave him a pack of smokes I’d been carrying since the first day, in case of emergency kind of thing. But quickly I’d come to realise I still had to overcome all the damage I’ve already caused myself from so many years of smoking.
By 7.15am I was on the road, I only have to get to Figeac, which is about 24km. I should be there by lunchtime. I’d already planned to have tomorrow off. I know I’ve been walking less than two weeks but I wanted to let my feet recover slightly, and this is my pilgrimage so I can do as I choose. I may be walking the path of St. James but I am no follower, I make my own way.
Within the first hour I have seen so much wildlife, including cuckoo’s, a greater spotted woodpecker, and to many butterflies to name here. It’s a glorious day, and I’m taking it all in with every step. Today there seems to be a fair amount of road walking, but I don’t mind.
After several hours of walking, only seeing the occasional pilgrim in the distance. I am navigating a little pathway slowly as I’m spying for lizards, snakes and more butterflies, when I hear voices behind me. I quicken my pace to get to an area where I may let them pass. When I do pull to one side and turn around who should be there but Marcus & Thomas. Slightly shocked by finding they are not a day in front of me by now, we stop and chat before starting the decent into Figeac together.
I persuade them to visit the town as it has some beautiful architecture and history, and until one there is a market in the town, so we head into town looking for somewhere to stop and eat, before exploring. We end up at a very dodgy (but adequate) sandwich bar! Afterwards we visit the main church and try to avoid the town fair which we were not expecting, before Marcus once again makes his leave. Thomas had though of staying in Figeac to relax but later in the afternoon I catch a glimpse of him heading out of town too. I am planning to have a day off now, so my folks will be picking me up later today. At least my day off won’t cost me anything!
I wander the town again, get my credentials stamped at the tourist information office, and then I sleep on a park bench between the church and the river Cele.
Late afternoon and my phone goes off, it’s dad, they hadn’t realised the fair was on either, I get my gear on and march along the river until I find them. Having this day off also means I can try and organise seeing my girlfriend before Santiago and maybe even talk to her later?!
On the way back we stop and have a little walk looking for orchids and butterflies, just a couple of things my parents love about France.
We arrive back at just before seven in the evening. Dinner has been cooking while they’ve been out. I start to sort my gear then head down to the bar area to use the wifi.
Tonight I don’t have to share my room…