If You Build It ~ Day 26 ~ May 2, 2014

Day 26, May 2
12 miles, 306 miles total
Altitude:
Weather: rainy, cloudy, partly sunny 38-58F
La Romieu

If you build it, people will come. This lunch shelter is shared by waves of pilgrims. Hard boiled eggs left on the table are sold on the honor system.  It’s always good sharing Christine and Mimi’s company.

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Any Way You Want It ~ Day 26 ~ May 2, 2014

Day 26, May 2
12 miles, 306 miles total
Altitude: 478 meters
Weather: rainy, cloudy, partly sunny 38-58F
La Romieu

Any way you want it is how you’d find the weather. No longer do I feel annoyed putting my rain jacket on and off. I can’t say the same for my “Chippendale” (full length double-side zip) rain pants as they take time putting them on and off.

The mud reminds me of the summer slip and slide toy made by Wham-O.  Your feet go every which way. Keeping upright takes full attention.

Picnic lunch by the pond with a priceless view of the 14th-century Collegiale Church. My room is a mixed dormitory at a former convent. Wonder what the nuns would have to say?

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First Glance ~ Day 25 ~ May 1, 2014

Day 25, May 1
15 miles, 294 miles total
Altitude: 108 meters
Weather: rainy, cloudy, partly sunny 38-58F
Lectoure

The first glance from one pilgrim to another is not looks. It’s sizing up the weight of their back packs. The first few weeks terse pilgrims directly asked the weight of people’s packs. Those with a relatively light packs were admired. Envied. Lusted. Those with too much weight were mentally chastised.

Day-packers, those with a shuttle service for their “real packs,” are in a different category. I’m reserving my opinions about these Cadillac pilgrims.

With water my pack weighed in at 7.1 kilograms, 15.7 pounds (two pounds over my realistic goal). The ideal weight is 10% of your weight which would be 10 pounds for me. The difficulty lies in packing for winter, spring, and summer plus a medical kit for on the spot treatment.  The ubiquitous black dress isn’t to be found.

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1492 ~ Day 24 ~ April 30, 2014

Day 24, April 30
12 miles, 279 miles total
Altitude: 347feet
Weather: rainy, cloudy, partly sunny 38-58F
Auvillar

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. That is also the same century the lower section of this house was built. Part of the home has been turned into a Gite to give back to pilgrims. Another part of the house has been turned into a potter’s workshop with class space for children. The lowest level was once used as stables and has been converted into a kitchen with a curved brick ceiling including skylights. Yes, those are my clothes hanging on the balcony. Cleaning mud from walking clothes is a high priority these days.

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Muddy Footprints ~ Day 23 ~ April 29, 2014

Day 23,  April 29

15 miles, 267 miles total

Altitude: 249 feet

Weather: rainy and cloudy 38-58F

Moissac

Muddy footprints will lead you here for this series of photographs from one knoll. My stride resembled Michael Jackson’s moonwalk as slick mud draws each foot backwards. Caked mud makes the boots heavy like iron weights. Is it worth the effort? Yes!

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Big ~ Day 23 ~ April 23, 2014

Day 23, April 28

15 miles

267 miles total

Altitude: 249 feet

Weather: rainy and cloudy 38-58F
Moissac

 

Pilgrims, as did I, came to big cathedrals.

Abbey Church of Saint-Pierre was built in 12th century.  I attended vespers service lead by four nuns who had the most amazing voices. Each note they sung suspended in the air as it echoed off the stone walls. The nuns wore the traditional white gown and vail having an etheral and fluid quality. They made the sigh of the cross and bowed with exaggerated yet graceful movements. They moved like dancers. Like opera sung in Italian, one did not need the knowledge of French to understand the beauty of the service.

 

 

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Easy is Hard ~ Day 23 ~ April 29, 2014

Day 23, April 29
15 miles, 267 miles total
Altitude: 76 meters
Weather: rainy, cloudy, partly sunny 38-58F
Moissan

What could be easier than to walk beside a canal for 10 miles? So I thought. I am told to stay on the west side of the canal as it is a pebble track while the east side is dirt AKA mud. However, the Chemin directs you back and forth from the west to the east side of the canal to access hamlets for your daily quota of expresso thus support the local economy. A bridge is under construction so the locals communicate to me to cross the canal at an earlier interval. The outcome is I miss the turn from the canal walking extra miles. Another caveat is the turn off is at mile 6 and not mile 10 as told. Many pilgrims told the same unfortunate tale this night. Misery does not enjoy company. Moral of the tale is to stick to the guide.

None the less, isn’t it beautiful?

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