Conques turned out to be a special place for Robin and I. First of all it is a beautiful village clinging to a hillside. Some might say it is a bit touristy, but so what. The cathedral is there, as is the Abbaye Sainte Foy (where we stayed), and the history of the Chemin runs though it all. If a few tour groups clog the streets does that somehow erase the centuries of pilgrims passing through this town? Everywhere you look there is activity related to the Chemin. Crowds of pilgrims stream into the town at day's end looking for food and lodging. A popular destination is the Abbaye Sainte Foy. They are very organized and processed weary pilgrims quite rapidly. We moved quickly through a queue of about ten and got our room. The boots and poles stayed in the courtyard. All backpacks went into large plastic sacks treated with insecticide to help control bedbugs. The back packs were then allowed in the room. Speaking of bed bugs, we have not had a bite yet. Preventative measures are taken seriously here. As soon as we cleaned up we wandered off into the village in search of wifi. We finally settled into the courtyard of the Hotel St. Foy, and checked email and caught up our blog. Their courtyard is a wonderful place to have a drink and just relax. Dinner was at 7:00 back at the Abbaye so off we went to dine with close to 150
fellow pilgrims. The food was solid pilgrim fare, but the excitement in the room made the difference. So many people were leaving tomorrow to begin what has been a longstanding dream. After dinner we attended the benediction service at the cathedral (8:30) and then stated for the organ concert at 9:30. At this point it was off to bed to rest our weary bodies.
|In the refectoire at the Abbaye|
We turned to at 6:00, had breakfast at 7:00 and made morning mass at 8:00. Robin us going on to Figeac where Inwill join her in two days time. We have been encouraged by the reduction in swelling in her leg, so hopefully a few days rest off the Chemin will have her back in shape. Robin walked with me out of Conques to the bridge leading out of town. She posed for a farewell photograph on the Pont Romain, we waived goodbye and I turned my attention to the rising terrain ahead of me.
The climb out of Conques took about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The weather was cloudy and cool (50 F). I started out with my usual t shirt with long sleeve zip neck merino over it, but very shortly it was just the t shirt, and so it stayed for quite sometime. I was walking fine and felt pretty strong somI kept my pace up for the next 15 kms. It was then that I met Pierre, a friend from a few days ago. He is walking by himself so I swung into step with him and set out for Livinhac Le Haut. We prowled around the ridges above Decazeville looking for the way to avoid descending into town, but in the end down we went and the up we went to the Chapel of St. Roch just above Livinhac. At 4:00 pm we crossed the bridge, in sputtering rain showers, intouchable Livinhac. Pierre headed off to a pharmacy and I rounded onto the Chemin path that led me to my lodging for the night, the Gîte Chambre d'Hôte Magnanerie. The rest of the night was spent having dinner with a group of pilgrim friends at another gîte in town. All kinds of people having a great time together is what makes these spontaneous occasions so much fun. I am now back at my room and trying to finish this post before I fall asleep. It has been another great day. Tomorrow I'll be meeting Robin in Figeac for a couple of rest days. We will find our way up to Rocamadour for a day trip and the just slip into the rest and recovery mode for a bit. More tomorrow from Figeac. Good night.....
|Robin checking in|
|It gets a little steep|
|Walking out of Conques|
|Robin on the bridge out of town|
|On top after climbing out of Conques|
|My new friend Pierre|
|Lot River approaching Livinhac|