Monday Sept 7 – Day 4
I woke up about 7, because I knew I was going to have a longer day. I was hoping for 25km. Breakfast was another good one, but I didn’t take any pictures. I did have my first real French croissant. YUM. I think croissants must be one of the best things ever. I will have to eat more. It will be hard getting used to not eating the bread again when I go home. I also had some orange juice that had to have been at least 80% pulp. I’ve never had anything like it.
It was the host’s mother that saw me out the door this morning. Previously, I’ve asked the host to phone ahead and make a reservation for me. The mother knew no English at all, but she wrote the information down and asked if I wanted dinner too, so I thought everything was fine. She did not call in front of me, and that did make me worry, because I set off without knowing if I really had a reservation or not.
I decided not to walk back up the hill into town to get anything for lunch. I knew I would be going through some other towns, and figured I’d be able to get something, or even have a hot lunch.
Whoever said it would be flatter after Saugues was lying! Well, not really, because it was flatter, but still so many mountains and hills to climb. I was either constantly going up or going down for most of the day. No flat.
It was the clearest day yet. Bright, sunny, and not a single cloud in the sky for the whole day. I passed a field of sheep with a very protective dog. He was doing his job very well, and he didn’t like the idea of me stopping to take pictures.
I didn’t see anyone I knew for several hours. It was just me and the path, and the scenery.
I ran into the 3 French ladies that I had dinner and breakfast with in Monistrol d’Allier. We had a delightful little reunion and then we parted. They were stopping in Sauvage tonight.
I passed through a few small towns, and one place even advertised food, but no one was there. As I started to some down the hill into Sauvage, I saw a little house in a field, and the people started waving at me. It was Monique and friends. I went over to say hi. They were taking a break and eating their lunch. They were going all the way to Saint-Alban sur-Limagnole, over 31 km. I sat down and ate a banana with them.
Turns out Sauvage is just one big building. Luckily, they have a gite there, and they have a restaurant that serves other people, too! The guy didn’t speak any english, so I said, “manger?” and made a spooning motion into my mouth. He said, “Oui,” then I thought he asked if I was walking, and I said yes. Turns out I ordered some food. The name on the menu is “assistte du Marcheur,” which I guess is like a pilgrim’s menu in Spain. I would have gotten it anyway. A green salad, pot roast, and yummy potatoes, and bread.
After I was done, I gazed a bit longingly at the selection of ice cream on display, and a fellow I had talked to a bit earlier said, “it’s no good.” “It’s not?” “No, the sugar is no good for walking. You can look, smell, and dream, but that’s it.”
After Sauvage I didn’t see another soul for several hours.
Then I experienced my first hiccup on the Camino/Chemin. I got to the town my supposed reservation was in, but it was only 3 pm. The gite wouldn’t open until 4:30. I was lamenting a bit that I could have gone farther in that 1.5 hours. I thought about leaving, but I didn’t know if I had actually made a reservation or not, and if I did, it would be terribly rude to leave if they were expecting me. No one else came. Finally at 4:30 I started ringing the bell. Right before 5, I called the next stop in my book. Thankfully the guy knew some English. I told him no one was where I had made a reservation, and could I come there, and could I still get food? Yes, and yes! Another 4k on to Le Rouget.
Right after making the reservation, I ran into Tanya and Peter, Aussies looking for a place to spend the night. I told them La Roche was a bust.
More hills, and more beautiful pictures! And a pictures of a cricket cannibalizing another cricket.
I got in about 6:30. The gite is on a Farm, and you have to walk through a barn to get there. I took a quick shower and did a bit of laundry.
Everyone else there was French, and they were all new. They were still all friendly and polite, but the dinner conversation was so fast, and it was all stuff I didn’t know. They were impressed I was going to Santiago, and more impressed that I was 36. One of them asked, so I said 36 in French, and they all looked shocked. So one said, “26?” in english, and I held up 3 fingers and 6. That sparked some conversation about something.
Dinner was the best, most, and longest I’ve had so far. The first course was some kind of savory tart. I have no idea what the vegetable in it was. It was soft. Very good, though. Then they just sat and talked for 15-20 minutes before getting the next course. That was the way dinner went.
Second course was something they called a ragu. Veal with potatoes, peas, and carrots. I got two helpings this size!
Then a cheese course, which I didn’t take a picture of, but very good. And the dessert course was another tart, this one with grapes I think. Or maybe small green plums. I think it’s funny how they call plums prunes, and grapes raisins. I want to know what they call prunes and raisins.
So tonight worked out for the best. I had great food, and I even have a whole room to myself!