Friday, September 18 – Rest Day 2
This morning I slept in till 8. It was easier to today, since yesterday was a “rest” day and I wasn’t collapsing into bed at 9 pm. I think I was awake until almost 11. When I realized it was 8, I jumped up and ran down to the lobby to see if I could get my hotels booked. The lady has been so patient and helpful, and I thanked her profusely over and over again, and again. Some of the places I have no idea how much I’ll be paying, but I don’t really even care at this point. I’m just happy to have a place to stay in the Célé Valley. I really wanted to do that route, so I’ll just have to wait a day and pay a little more to do it. It’s supposed to be some of the most beautiful scenery in France.
Unfortunately, the first two days are 59k, so it’s a good thing my feet are getting their rest now. I wanted to split it into 3, but we couldn’t find any place that was available. Thankfully it’s split right down the middle, 29 and 30k, but unfortunately after the second day, the only place that answered the phone was the gîte, so I will not have a solo room waiting for me at the end of it. But that’s ok. I will survive!! But I think those will be very long days, because I’m sure nothing will be flat and there will be much ups and downs. And, I hope it’s not going to rain. It would be nice to have a few sunny, or at least non-rainy, days after the past few days I’ve had.
The lady must have called 12 different places for me, but I’m booked through Cahors and Tuesday. Yay!! At least I won’t have to worry about that. And I think from Cahors to St. Jean Pied de Port, it’s relatively flat.
Well, unfortunately it looks like it’s supposed to rain on Saturday, but hopefully it’s more like the rain I had yesterday where I won’t get soaked. It’s an adventure! At least i will be fresh and well rested, and I’m sure that will help.
I had a text from Megan this morning saying that she heard I was stung from Monique, but she has no idea how Monique heard. The Camino Grapevine! My thumb is still swollen this morning, but it’s the same. It is a little red around the sting site, and a little warm, but I do rub on it a lot, so I don’t know what to make of it. It’s not obviously infected, but it might be a little. Ok, I just googled, and it says the swelling can last up to a week. So if there are no obvious visual changes, I shouldn’t worry too much.
I spent the whole morning catching up on posts and figuring up Stages data. I did a quick calculation of the distance I have left to go, and the days I have left, and I will need to pick it up a bit. I think I’m still doing ok, since the beginning is going to be much more mountainous than later on, but I also might not have two weeks left over at the end like I’d originally thought. I’m only 2 weeks in, though, so there’s no need to worry, yet. I’m doing ok, and I will still be taking rest days.
I figured I should get out and went for a walk around noon. Not with any particular purpose. I thought maybe I should find something to eat, and it was getting close to 1:30. Lunch is over at 2. I went into a patisserie and got an apple pastry of some kind, and a very pretty raspberry tart. I thought I should eat something else, since dinner wouldn’t be till 7 ish. As I was walking down a narrow street, I passed a hole in the wall kebab restaurant with very reasonable prices, so I stopped in. I ordered a kebab and fries. He asked if I wanted sauce, and I said yes, but there were probably about 6 sauces to choose from and I didn’t know what any of them were. So he asked if I wanted picante, and I said, “oui, picante.” He said, “picante bien, bien, ou picante (come ci come ca hand motion).” So I said “oui, bien bien!” and he said, “harissa.” So I got the kebab with harissa sauce. It was a little spicy, but not overwhelming. I didn’t really like the flavor of the harissa, though. It was spicy, but no flavor. But for 5 E, I think it was a pretty good lunch. Or I could have gotten another bunch of grapes.
Walking up the street from the kebab place, I found Lombard Street!
At the top a big area was fenced off, because they were having some sort of expo. I saw some livestock, but mostly mowers, campers, hot tubs, that kind of thing. I was forced to go only one place, and luckily it was exactly where I wanted to go! There are two big churches in Figeac. The second looked like he had buttresses, but they turned out to be very basic. Notre Dame du Puy. It was very different from other churches I’ve been in so far. The first thing was I noticed the smell. Very musty. But it had this massive wooden thing. I’m sure it has a name, and I would probably recognize it if I heard it, but I have no idea what it is. The organ was completely covering a big circular stained glass window, and I wasn’t allowed to go up the stairs to look. I think that’s rather unfortunate. There was also a display case with some staff things that in a certain online game I used to play we would have called them croziers.
I sat out in the little garden outside and ate my pastries. I really should have gotten a picture of the tart before it got tossed around in my bag. It really was much prettier than this.
Then I headed off to look for the office of tourisme to get a stamp for the day. Just yesterday, before heading off to Rocamadour, I downloaded the google maps app on my phone. This thing is amazing. It shows you where you are, and if you know where you want to go, you can see how to get there. No worries about getting lost in the warrens of streets.
I got my stamp, then sat down in the little square outside and listened to a young man busking. Not something I normally do, but I had time. Earlier I had been accosted at a crosswalk by a very insistent beggar. I gave him some coins in my pocket that probably amounted to 4 E. I figured this young man was at least giving a service while asking for money, so I planned to give him the rest of what was in my pocket (except for the .01 E piece I found in Le Puy), which was probably another 4 E. Just as I was thinking about leaving, he started packing up to go, so I walked over and handed him the money. It just made me very grateful, to be able to be here, and to have the blessings I have.
After that I decided to walk back to my hotel and wait to hear from Megan. I’m sure there was more I could have seen, but it is a rest day, after all. I didn’t want to spend the whole day walking around.
I have not recognized anyone today. Staying here for two days has put me behind everyone else. It will truly be different from here on out. Anick is going to St. Jean Pied de Port, so we might run into each other again, but you never know. I have no idea why she cancelled her hotel here, so I don’t know what her plans are.
I met Megan and her friend Jerry at the office of tourisme, and we wandered around looking for a place to have dinner. It was only 6:30, and places are pretty strict about not starting until 7, so we had to wait. We ended up going to a place that had hamburgers! I haven’t had a hamburger in 6 years. It was delicious. I would also never pay $15 for a burger and fries in the states. Megan and I both got rocamadour burgers with that rocamadour cheese on it.
It was fun catching up with Megan, and it surprised me a little at how much I was looking forward to it. I’ve gotten used to seeing people I know every day, and now that I’ve been in town for two days, all the faces are new. It really will be different from here on out. I will meet new people that will soon become old faces.
Megan heard about my bee/wasp sting down in a town that was 25k south of Figeac. How the news traveled there, I have no clue. She drove there yesterday to meet Jerry, then they walked into Figeac this afternoon. On their way in, they met Anick coming the other way. She said that Monique had gotten a call that her husband was in the hospital, so the three of them (the two Francoises) all went home early, back to Avignon. Stuff happens. I’m only two weeks in, and I’m starting to realize that if I make it all the way in the time that I want, it will be a feat. I really hope I can.
The next two days are going to be a challenge. I hope it doesn’t rain too much or too hard.