|Leaving Lectoure this morning|
Isabel, our host at Gîte L'Etoile Occitane, gave us a map with a shortcut traced on it that saved us sometime leaving Lectoure. We had our earliest start today and were on our way by 7:45. We started out the day thinking we would walk to La Romieu, but then decided to push through to Condom. There is shortcut that can be taken which us about 5kms past Marsolan, just beyond the Chapelle d'Abrin. This is a marked trail, but not as well marked as it should be particularly on the approaches to Castelnau sur L'Auvignon. We found ourselves guided by trail marks to this nice crushed stone road that seemed fine until we could not find any corroborating GR marks as we walked along. This always causes some stress and we were anxious to confirm we were proceeding in the right direction. Well we did finally see a gîte sign posted so that was something, but kilometer after kilometer passed by without seeing a GR mark until we arrived at the junction where the GR 65 from La Romieu joins this shortcut just before you climb up to Castelnau. So if you find yourself on this road, just keep the faith and press on. BTW, there were no services in Castelnau. We had a brief lunch break (some few leftovers we were carrying) and then set off for Condom where we arrived 1 h 45 m later at 2:30. We met up with some friends close to the cathedral for a beer, then hit the Tourist Office to locate our hotel. It was only ten minutes away, so off we went to check in and get cleaned up.
The big story today has two parts. First, Robin's leg did quite well as we walked the 25 k we did today. In fact, we are just now discussing walking the full 34 kms to Eauze tomorrow. Robin met a guy, who knew a guy who knew an awful lot about essential oils and their pain relieving properties. Yesterday, she slipped into a pharmacy in Lectoure and 50 euros later (and lighter) she had amassed the recommended ingredients. Later that night equal portions of mint, caultheria, helichrysum, and arnica came together yielding an oil that gave off a liniment type scent. Not unpleasant at all. Robin is using the oil now three times a day. We will report on its effectiveness a bit further down the road. The second was the weather, today's forecast called for scattered showers and afternoon thunderstorms. We dressed in rain pants right from the gîte. The sky looked threatening at first, but then offered us a few sun breaks a bit later in the day. At our lunch break Robin swapped her rain pants for a skirt. I just kept mine on. We actually did arrive in Condom in the dry, but all hell broke loose shortly after we checked into our hotel. Thunder was echoing across the city, as torrents of rain quickly filled the streets. I hope every pilgrim walking to Condom today made it in before that storm. Our hotel had no restaurant so, in a lull, we dodged out, umbrellas in hand, to a nearby wood fired pizza place called L'Origan (4 Rue Cadéot). It was great. It is only a few minutes walk from the Tourist Office. Anyway, that is my my food tip for today.
Just to wrap up, we did not find anyplace open all the way from Lectoure to Condom, and today was a Tuesday when shops should be open. It just happens that in many of these rural villages there is not enough business to justify staying open. I guess the locals jump in the car and head off to some other towns to shop, or even to have a coffee. Full disclosure, we did not walk through La Romieu, and I would certainly expect something would have been open there, but you just never know when you are out in the countryside. Lights out...more tomorrow from Le Chemin Saint-Jacques. The light, today, was not great for photos, but here are few to show you our day.
|There is always wheat around us|
|Crops poking through|
|A very nice , very short section of the GR 65|
|Spotted this guy feasting on new crops|
|The cathedral at Condom|