Bits and Pieces ~ Day 17 ~ April 23, 2014

Day 17, April 23
19 miles, 187 miles total
Altitude: 488 feet
Weather: partly cloudy 55-74F
Cajarc
Joanna, from London joins me

This Parisian family is doing the Camino in bits and pieces on summer holidays. This is their third journey on the Chemin Saint Jaques. Teenagers develop their own tastes and preferences usually centered around their peers; yet, these young men voice the strongest desire to return as a family to the Chemin. Walking between medieval villages offers more character development then family vacation to Orlando and Walt Disney’s interpretation of medieval castles.

Cajarc is a medieval town nestled below chalk mountains where we have just finished a four course “Pilgrim’s Meal.” These prefix value meals are offered all along the way to Santiago as a means of supporting pilgrims.

20140424-062506.jpg

20140424-062527.jpg

20140424-062546.jpg

Jolly Green Giant ~ Day 17 ~ April 23, 2014

Day 17, April 23
19 miles, 187 miles total
Altitude: 488 feet
Weather: partly cloudy 55-74F
Cajarc
Joanna, from London joins me

Like Virginia, each day in spring nature makes dramatic changes. The trees are now washed in green leaves as though the Jolly Green Giant lives here.

Fields of newly plowed soil have furrows as heigh as 18 inches. The soil is so rich in color it looks like pools of melted milk chocolate. Crops surely thrive.

Joanna’s wisdom, “It takes as much time to get over pushing yourself at a fast pace as it does to walk at a leisurely pace.”

20140423-170006.jpg

20140423-193646.jpg

20140423-193716.jpg

20140423-193904.jpg

Rawhide ~ Day 16 ~ April 22, 2014

Day 16, April 22
15.5 miles, 168 miles total
Altitude: 196 meters
Weather: cloudy, sprinkles 40-50F
Figeac
Joanna, from London joins me

Head’em up. Move’em out. Rawhide. (from 1960’s Clint Eastwood western TV show)

I helped move a flock of sheep into a meadow.

The real fun was helping to move a herd of cows. Just as I surmised from the past two weeks of close encounters with cows, they are quite interested and comfortable with people. In helping move a herd across the road, I found myself penned between the fence dozens of huge cows staring straight into my eyes within a hand ‘a touch. I simply edged along the fence toward the barn and they moved into the barn as pretty as you please. The farmer remarked at how calm my presence was around cows. He and the cows could tell.

20140422-234347.jpg

20140422-234410.jpg

20140422-234429.jpg

$49.33 plus Towel ~ Day 16 ~ April 22, 2014

Day 16. April 22
15.5 miles, 168 miles total
Altitude: 643 feet
Weather: cloudy, sprinkles 40-50F
Figeac
Joanna, from London joins me

The price of our four course dinner with wine in 13th century room above lodging in 15th century room with WiFi and towel (first towel supplied by gite).

PS
Croissant, home made jam, and hot chocolate for breakfast; plus, I was offered free phone service to USA. Viva la St Joseph’s Gite.
20140422-232131.jpg

20140422-232157.jpg

20140422-232231.jpg

20140423-075839.jpg

Marrs ~ Day 15 ~ April 21, 2014

Day 15, April 21
15 miles, 152 miles total
Altitude: 721 feet
Weather: cloudy 45-55F
Livinhac-le-haut
Joanna, from London joins me

Did you know most businesses in France are closed on Monday? Now I know that to be a fact as the only provisions for lunch to be had on my walk today was a Marrs candy bar from an Esso gas station vending machine. Duck dinner more than made up for the short comings.

Joanna and I walked in the morning mist. Our gite has blue shutters accented by the Wisteria in full bloom.

20140421-230647.jpg

20140421-230733.jpg

20140421-230754.jpg

Cinq Senses ~ Day 14 ~ April 20, 2014

Day 14, April 20
0 miles, 137 miles total REST DAY#2
Altitude: 918 feet
Weather: cold and rainy 32-45F
Conques
Joanna, from London joins me

SIGHT
Wild flowers, stone walls, endless beauty, open expanses, old, very old buildings, pilgrims walking

HEARING
Massey Ferguson tractors in the field, Citroens down shifting up hill, donkeys braying, chickens clicking, church bells, rippling streams, French mass

TASTE
Rich wine, smoked duck, bread and butter, cool water, pastries, pastries, pastries

SMELL
Wood smoke in the air, lilacs in bloom, incense swung in church, my sweet sweat, fragrant manure, odoriferous feet

TOUCH
Morning sun on my left arm, the sting of wind and sun on my face, walking poles rocking in my palm, silk sleeping bag, ill fitting pillows

My friends and I snuck lunch into our convent room. I figured out how to turn on the radiator as it is cold and rainy. We tossed crumbs from our napkins out the window for fear of being found out and thrown out of our lodging. Like hiking in the woods, leave no trace behind.

20140420-103034.jpg

20140420-181957.jpg

20140420-182115.jpg

20140420-182210.jpg

20140420-182319.jpg

Rapunzal’s Tower ~ Day 14 ~ April 20, 2014

Day 14, April 20
0 miles, 137 miles total REST DAY#2
Altitude: 918 feet
Weather: cold and overcast 32-50F
Conques
Joanna, from London joins me

Expecting my Pilgrim Credential to fill before I get my second one being sent to Pamplona, I got another credential from the abbey. It as well as this morning’s pilgrims were blessed at a special pilgrim’s service. Easter mass is yet to come.

Christina, Mimi , and Joanna have claimed the bibliotheque as their place to write. I have this incredible chapel at the top of a stone tower. It’s a 12 foot round stone room with two windows, open beam ceiling with skylight, carpet, petite stools, electrical outlet for iPhone, and an “alter” on the floor. As I love to curl up on the floor, I am beyond content.

WiFi has not found my sanctuary. That’s okay.

20140420-100600.jpg

20140420-100643.jpg

20140420-100715.jpg

Kisses ~ Day 13 ~ April 19, 2014

Day 13, April 19
13 miles, 137 miles total
Altitude: 918 feet
Weather: warm and overcast 32-62F
Conques
Joanna arrives!

Leaving Golinhac I met the most irresistible Canadian Landees dog, Titi, on his way to the river for a swim.  His owner explained Titi was the most known  and best  loved in the village. Titi kissed me au revoir.

Joanna, from London, and I arrived at Conques within minutes of each other. We are staying at Accueil Abbaye Sainte-Foy which hosts pilgrims at the abbey. Our co-ed room has eight sets of bunk beds all full. As we got in late, all the bottom bunks were full.  The top bunk has the  vertue of no one at eye level.  The bathroom is semi-coed with mixed use for showers and sinks; yet, separate toilets. People respect everyone’s privacy and are very civil in tight quarters. With 60 attending dinner, a third were welcomed familiar pilgrims I have met these past days. We attended evening high mass during this most Holy Week.

20140419-235141.jpg

20140419-235243.jpg

20140419-235354.jpg

20140419-235506.jpg