|Gîte Bonté Divine in Miradoux|
Our gîte last night was quite nice. All the bathroom facilities were very clean and modern. Stephane, our host, was very hospitable. We all gathered for a nice dinner in the courtyard, that lingered on for a couple of hours. Shortly after that the ear plugs went in and I slept soundly. Robin claims she didn't sleep a wink, even with her earplugs. We had our usual breakfast and slipped out the door shortly after 8:00. Today we were walking to Lectoure. This was an intentionally short day as we are trying to get Robin's leg back to normal by not overusing it. The terrain today was also in our favor. There a couple of steep climbs, especially the last bit into Lectoure. Today was Monday so many of the shops were closed, especially in the smaller towns. We had hoped for a coffee break in Castet-Arrouy, but everything was fermé. The weather story for today was the wind. It had been forecasted to kick up, and it did not disappoint. Right from the start it was blowing about 20-25 mph from the SE or ESE. Thankfully this was a crosswind, and did not hinder our progress. It also provided additional cooling that was welcomed as the heat of the day started to rise. So it was a day walking through a lot of agricultural areas, that reminded me of California's central valley. This area is certainly producing a lot of row crops. We passed the time playing name that vegetable, as we walked alongside the fields. We were out in the open for a fair amount (sun hat required), but thankfully dipped into wooded groves from time to time for a bit of respite from the sun. As we crested the final hill leading to the cathedral we caught up with several of our friends, including Wilhem and Victor, the donkey. As it was early we found out where the gîte was and then dropped into a nearby restaurant for lunch. Of course we ran into more friends we have been seeing, and walking with along the Chemin, including a friend from our home state of Washington.
A side bar: Stephane, our host at the gîte last night, pointed to a house across the street and told me that his neighbor, who works for some tech company in France, was actually now working in the Seattle area, for his company. The global economy comes to a neighborhood in rural France. Interesting.
We have checked into the Gîte L'Etoille Occitane, and Isabel, our charming host, got people settled down, while answering a flood of questions about places to eat, things to see, and accommodations further down the Chemin. There is a spa across the street, so Robin is over there enjoying some down time. The initial surge of activity at the gîte is starting to quiet down, as people get showered, get their clothes washed, and stop stressing about Chemin logistics. Pierre, our Swiss friend who has be having an ongoing love/hate relationship with his problematic mobile phone is currently in the hate mode. He just mutters away in French or German as the mood strikes him, but the subject matter is always the phone, and it's intent to ruin his time on the Chemin (mostly because the camera is acting up). So far our little international band of pilgrims includes, Swiss, French, Austrian, German, Australian, Belgian, South African, Canadian, and of course, Americans. Curiously, I have not heard any talk of politics, religion, national stereotypes, or any other incendiary topics that cause otherwise normal people to go ballistic. As I talk to people I get a sense that these pilgrims are simply responding to a compelling desire to walk the Chemin. They all have different needs and their destinations vary with time available, and other obligations. But, they are all very pleased to be here, and most discussion is centered on matters related to the task at hand, which is moving along the Chemin to wherever their heart's are taking them. Tomorrow, it is taking us to La Romieu. More later, upon arrival. All is well.
|Daybreak in Miradoux|
|Leaving Miradoux, a side street.|
|Robin waiting for me to stop taking photos|
|One of many ruins dotting the valley|
|Looking for coffee|
|Free coffee from a kind local|
|The path tightens up, but it is in the shade|
|Robin enjoying the shade|
|Lectoure 30 minutes out.|
|Bell tower of the cathedral|