Jackpot ~ Day 7 ~ April 13, 2014

Day 7, April 13, Palm Sunday
14 miles, 61 miles total
Altitude: 3,579 feet
Weather: warm and sunny

My accommodation, Gite-bungalow Le Champ du Theron, is a real winner. Though able to accommodate four, I am the only guest. It’s outfitted much like a sailboat with cupboard, closets, built in couch with storage space under the cushions, and a microwave. It must be from my vast cooking experience I figured out the French labeled touch pad on the microwave.






Templiers ~ Day 6 ~ April 12, 2014

Day 6, April 12
14 miles, 47 miles total
Altitude: 1,960 feet
Weather: warm and sunny
Saint Alban-sur-Limagnole

A historic monument des Templiers (larger building) dating from 13th century. It was a hospital run by a religious order. Today it served me incredible strawberry sherbet.

The smaller house is a “buron,” shepherd’s isolate house when cattle and flocks of sheep are brought up to graze in the high pasturelands.

Walking all day feels like marathon training days doing “time on feet .” The feet keep turning over and over and over.





What Will $42 Get You in France? ~ Day 4 ~ April 11, 2014

Day 4, April 10
9 miles, 19 miles total
Altitude: 1,969 feet
Weather: warm and sunny

A seven-person Gite (though I have the place all to myself) on a 120 year old fromage farm, a bottle of wine, Le Puy Green Lentil Soup, the best ever mushroom-chive omelet, beef, pasta, baguette, apple, orange, and of course fromage from the property all delivered to my table. By the way, “room service” for breakfast is yet to come.









Bouquet a’la Manure ~ Day 4 ~ April 11, 2014

Day 4, April 10
9 miles, 19 miles total
Altitude: 1,969 feet
Weather: warm and sunny

With warm days in the fromage region of France, an unmistakable manure bouquet is in the air. My gite is attached to the cow barn. A grand cup of hot chocolate from one of these girls awaited the finish of today’s walk.





Which Way? ~ Day 4 ~ April 11, 2014

Day 4, April 10
9 miles, 19 miles total
Altitude: 1,969 feet
Weather: warm and sunny

So, how does one cross 500 miles of rural France without a GPS or the language? No bread crumbs to follow here; rather, follow the red and white stripes found on trees, pipes, rocks, houses…well just about anything that doesn’t move. Parallel lines mean to continue straight while lines forming an “X” means deviates, do not go. White lines at a “right” right angle mean take the next right; where as, white lines at a “left” right angle mean take a left. Every time a turn is presented all other option are marked with a red and white “X.” When I come to a junction I find myself saying, “This, not that.”

Have I gotten off course? Yes. Yelling does not help. Back-track and all you need to know is there.

Camino magic. Today I passed trail markers, the Hansel and Gretel of the Camino.





Accordion ~ Day 4 ~ April 10, 2014

Day 4, April 10
9 miles, 19 miles total
Altitude: 4,134 feet
Weather: warm and sunny

Sitting outside at my second gite I hear an accordion in the distance; hence, I must still be in France. The gite sits at the bottom of a gorge from which I spent hours descending. Perched on the rim of the gorge sits a tiny 13th century chapel , Chapelle Saint Jaques,Rochgude,, dedicated to St James. Though no larger them my dining room, the humble chapel with stain glass window of a pilgrim was well worth the climb.





In the Beginning ~ Day 3 ~ April 9, 2014

Day 3, April 9
10 miles, 10 miles total
Altitude: 3,698 feet
Weather: warm and sunny

In the beginning, a pilgrim (that’s me) began a thousand mile walk from the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame having been blessed by the bishop. By good fortune, I had met a Parisian ironman devotee who became my walking partner for the most critical day, the first day of walking. I was told by a fellow in Le Puy the path was well marked and maps not required. Day 3 confirms this; however, I’m not tossing my maps. A splendid day with much country landscape, villages, churches, clear blue skies, steady up-hill climbing, rustic gite (hostel), and not one wrong turn.






Stairway to Heaven ~ Day 2 ~ April 8, 2014

Day 2, April 8
O miles, 0 miles total
Altitude: 2,066 feet
Weather: warm and sunny
Le Puy

Rocher St Michel is built on a volcanic plug in central Le Puy. In 961AD Bishop Godescalc, the most famous Santiago Compostela pilgrim, built a small square oratory on the top of the rock. The steps are carved out of rock. Beautiful fresco adorn the church ceiling.

The volcanic deposits account for the world famous Le Puy lentils, the caviar of the poor.