|Robin pondering our departure (uphill)|
We had a fun stay at the Gîte La Tsabone in Monistrol. We opted for the Demi-Pension arrangement which is a bed, dinner and breakfast. We had dinner in the main house with the owners, Patrick, his wife and her father who was visiting. The dinner was a great success. Robin helped out with Google translate and we all had a few laughs. Patrick does the cooking and his food is not to be missed. A delicious vegetable soup, chicken with pasta carbonara, pear tart, local cheese, and red wine. Things are looking up. There was much talk last night, before dinner, regarding the climb out of Monistrol. It definitely looks intimidating from the valley floor (where we all had to start). If discussing the various tips being offered on how best to approach this climb would lessen the slope of it, then we would have been roller skating out of here this morning. Alas, that was not to be. In the end it is one foot ahead of the other and up you go. The initial part reminded me of some of the morning departures from coastal towns on the Camino Ingles. Those who have walked the Norte would probably have similar comments. IMHO it is not that bad of a climb. The steepest part (the beginning) takes about 45 minutes and after that the slope eases and most folks seem to reach the top in 2 hours or less. It is very doable. So, if you are thinking about the Le Puy route please do not let this become a distraction. It is just another one of hundreds of hills placed wherever they are by those who like to mess with pilgrims minds.
|This shows the slope|
Once on top the climb for the day isn't over it just becomes more gentle. In fact we wound up climbing all day to Villaret (with the exception of the occasional descent...so you could regain that height again). The weather was also interesting. It was a bit of winter, summer, spring depending on the hour If not the minute) of the day. We started out with temps in the upper 40's. We climbed in t shirts and outer long sleeve shirts. No vests or jackets. On top the temperatures dropped a bit and cold gusts of wind argued for more outerwear. On went a rain jacket for Robin, and a vest for me. We carried on alternatively feeling warm, hot, or cold as the varying, and confounding winds, cloud cover, and precipitation came and went. The final treat on the smorgasbord was a curious mix of sunshine, and sleet when we were 2 kms from Villaret. Go figure. We, admittedly, were fortunate that today was mostly dry, with only a few light scattered rain showers. We pushed on through some of the most picturesque scenery I have ever enjoyed. This is truly beautiful countryside. We arrived at Saugues at 12:00, exactly, and stopped for a pizza, coffee, and a glass of wine. It was a smoke filled cafe, with a least one regular inhaling small glasses of clear liquid. 30 minutes later we shoved off for our final destination, the Auberge de 2 Pellerins in Villaret. This is a great place to stay. The owners are most kind and helpful. We are getting our washing done, enjoying a private room and have had a very tasty beer. The crowd here is growing as the day's lengthening shadows gather in the stray pilgrims passing through. Robin and I are doing well. Tomorrow we are off to St. Alban sur Limagnole some 20.5 kms down the track. Cheers for now.
|Chapel,on the climb out of Monistrol|
|Our lodging in Villaret|
|I moved the orange cushions and am sitting there as I write this|