St Chely d’Aubrac to St Come d’Olt

I met the 2 women from California briefly yesterday. I’ve been hearing everywhere that there are two walkers not only from the USA, but also from Calif. Met them again at lunch today. Irma  and Beth are from SoCal around Thousand Oaks. Thanks Irma for including me in info from US pilgrims. Sorry I was so fuzzy when I first saw you today.

Another 450 meters down hill today, but there seemed like there was a lot of uphill as well (85 floors of climbing according to my Fitbit). Only 16 km to St Côme d’Olt, but it was all hard earned. After being really tired with 13km covered, stumbled upon a lovely little outdoor spot where the owner prepared amazing crepes made with silver leaf (like spinach). Wow! It was SO good, and I was SO tired. It’s wonderful what you can find waiting for you in the middle of a remote area on the Chemin de Saint Jacque. The owner/chef was a real artist. I said good bye to German friend Birgit in St Côme. I’ve been walking with Kate and Arantxa, Birgit, and Jean-Jacque off and on for a few days, ending having dinner together. I’ll miss them when I press on tomorrow. It will Probably rain tonight and tomorrow, what fun.

 


Good bye St Chely

A little closer

Small shrines everywhere

Coffee in a shrine

Dejuner at last

Irma (l) and Beth. The California pilgrims

Easily the best crepe I’ve ever had

 

St Côme d’Olt



Nasbainols to St Chrely d’Aubrac

The walk to the summit of the trail near Mt Aurac was steep at times but I continue to get more fit. Every day, every step gets more beautiful. 

Past the summit the walk was pretty steep and rocky downhill but most of the way covered in shade from a canopy of leaves. I’m happy with my progress. Quite tired at the end of each day but seem to recover quickly with a shower and a little lay down.

A simple lunch in the town of Aubrac had to include a slice of the huge tort (cut into 4). This is the part that most backpackers miss on other trails.

Finished the day in St. Chely d’Aubrac. A basic Gite to sleep in but 5 strangers to a room. Wonderful dinner with people from France Spain Germany Australia and USA. 

Ear summit Mt Aubrac

Lunch. Oh my!

 

Former pilgrim

St. Chely d’Aubrac

Aumont-Aubrac to Nasbainol

Had a nice evening of conversation with some nice women walking together in Aumont-Aubrac. Ended up not turning in until pretty late. The kind of conversation you can get into in Europe over some late drinks.  German and Spanish managed to speak mainly English. 

Day 7 was a pretty tough day of walking to end week one. 27km of trail covered at 1200+ meters elevation was a real test of fitness. Since I had a plan to make it all the way to Nasbainol I probably pushed it a bit, but i would like to get back on track to complete my Camino by the first of November. 

So, my first week showed 116km completed by the numbers shown in my guidebook. My Fitbit shows considerably more, but I did quite a bit of extra sightseeing with wrong turns and extra walks around the towns so I think that total is pretty close to the truth. 116 is a bit of a disappointing number given how far I have to go, but I made it over a lot of steep rocky trails at between 3200 and 4200 feet. Tomorrow I will pass the highest elevation on the Chemin in France at 4400 ft., and end the day at less than 2700 ft.  

I admit to being a bit amazed by the numbers add up for a week of walking. 

Steps 214000

Miles 103.2

Calories 28400

Warm walk

Every cafe should have one of these

The light! The colors! It’s easy to see why people come here to paint

Naisbainol

Le Villeret d’Apcher to St. Alban


The diner at Le Villeret d’Apcher was trés good and trés riche. Singing chants of Le chemin de Saint Jacque. Wonderful people. 6 French, 6 German, et moi. I think the fromage really did me in, though. 

Day 4 was very busy again, not all in a good way but if I only described the good stuff this wouldn’t be very realistic.

The first part of the day was great. Walking most of the way to Le Sauvage with Lea and Tony, a nice young couple from Paris I sat with at dinner. Lea is a TV journalist from Paris who studied in San Diego for a year, so we talked about her career (with ch 16) which is about to include her field coverage of the Pope’s visit to the U.S. next month. I told her a bit about my work at KOIN more than 30 years ago, and my TV show Pacific Outdoors. For a lot of the walk we were “marchons avec les vaches et les  chevaux. See pics.

When we got to a beautiful Gite in Le Sauvage I got an email that I had passed up my reservation by 5 km, and I started feeling dizzy and sick. I won’t go into the details of the rest of the day but they included a dizzy 4 km walk ahead (not back), resting in the grass for a few hours, and taking a car to a Gite around 10 km away. A very nice group of walkers and bicyclists were worried for me but after I threw up some of that wonderful French food, I felt a lot better and they were no longer worried. Turns out my body is used to plain food and not much of it. Hopefully lesson learned.

Another beautiful day this morning, and I think I am over it. I will eat only a little food today and lots of water….and definitely NO French Cheese! It’s wonderful but apparently does not suit me. I am very grateful this morning for the kindness of strangers! I walked with a French Canadian couple who have a friend in Huntington Beach. Met a man walking the camino with no shoes. I didn’t think he would appreciate my “it’s not a penance” comment. A nice Gite in St Alban tonite.more later. 



Deadly fromage


Old Guy Walking


Lea and the bull

Oui!

Les chevaux required petting for passage

Waiting for my ride

La Roche

A nice view from the Gite

Barefoot. Wow!

Beautiful  St Albans sur Limognal



Sauges et Le Villaret d’Alpches

A very busy 2nd and 3rd day on my walk. The major activity was my meeting with Pere Michel Rennou, who was known as Father Mike during the many years he visited ships with the Seamans Mission in Kobe, Japan. What a wonderful soul, and a friend to all sailors. 

Father Mike (who is >80) is quite the walker. On 8/24 he walked up the trail from Sauges to greet me and lighten the last of a second very long trek. From Le Puy to Sauges (including Saint Privat) is supposed to be 46 km, but my Fitbit showed 38 miles total. A look at the elevation changes will show what it was like, my Fitbit tells me I climbed 202 stories on day one and 245 on day two, and the pictures paint the story which included heavy rain on both days. 

So I was a very tired sailor by the time we walked into Sauges. I basically just collapsed for an hour, but rallied to visit the town cathedral and have a great dinner and conversation. Since Father Mike walked a Camino with Lloyd Rath in 2013, he is an inspiration to me. At the end of my long day, I had trouble keeping up with him. I guess I must have looked pretty bad since he offered to drive me to the next stage so I could rest. I was tempted, but agreed to only do short walks for the next couple.of days. As one of my favorite peregrinas once told me…”It’s supposed to be a pilgrimage, not a penance. Take it easy on yourself.”

So today I set out on what was to be an 11 km walk to Le  Villeret d’Apchiers. But I made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up walking 13 miles. The good part is that I was tired enough to need a rest. When I saw a picnic table sitting in the trees, I went over and ended up lying on my back to rest. For around 20 minutes I experienced what I can only describe as Bliss. Looking up through the pine needles at a clear blue sky. I felt completely at peace, at one with the universe, and happy to be at exactly that time and place. Wow! Trés kumbia.

And tonite I found a Gite d’Etape called “Des Deux Pelletins. Hotel of the two pilgrims. Even singing! Altogether, this is turning out better than I had hoped. For an old hippie it doesn’t get much better than this…..and Merci Beaucoup to Father Mike!

 

So, Day 1 was tough 

But Day 2 was brutal

Today there was 100 stories of climbing to 1140 meters. Glad I only went half way

 

 So, to a guy who likes his coffee, France is great!

 Old German mountain goats sprinting by me Day 2

Slippery wet and steep makes for tough downhill 

 

 

I tired sailor arrives at Sauges

 

Me and Father Mike. He’s the young one on the left

 

 

Greetings to Sauges

 

Uphill to Le Villeret. Just amazing countryside

Bliss!

 

Gite des Deux Pelerins