Friday, September 25 – Day 19
I’ve had better nights. I slept fitfully, dreaming that the whole night had gone by, waking up drenched in sweat, and it had only been 3 hours. I was unable to regulate my temperature all night, freezing and sweating, and sometimes with a coughing bout thrown in.
I’m so glad it was a lazy, French morning. I had a nasty surprise at breakfast, though. My stomach was upset, and I’d already had a few trips to the bathroom before breakfast. I had to go to the bathroom twice while eating. It reminded me of how it feels to be “glutened” (even though that’s no longer an accurate word for it) and it made so glad I hadn’t been dealing with that and that I can eat the bread!
I did not have much of an appetite for breakfast. I dutifully avoided all milk products, including the yogurt, then realized about an hour later that the yogurt probably would have been a good idea. Probiotics and all. I’m pretty sure the diarrhea is a side effect of the antibiotics! Grr. I took some immodium, but I was rather worried about the day ahead, however comparatively short it may be.
We took some pictures of each other, then headed out.
The nice thing about leaving at 9:45, is that you run into people who started at the town 4k behind you, but left at a more decent time. It was the busiest morning I’ve seen since leaving Figeac.
I met a woman whom I had passed on a mountain the first day out of Cahors, and I found out her name is Odile. As we were talking, we ran into Miyoko! I didn’t get to talk to her long, because she really had to pee, and I kept going. I’m sure I will see her again. She asked about Megan, and didn’t know that Megan was done and had gone home already.
The first town I came to was Montcuq. I went inside to get some croissants and something else to eat. I found a little Casino, and the shop employee spoke some English. She was very helpful, and I took her picture. Nothing sounds appealing to my stomach, but I had to eat something. I was also afraid of what would happen if I tried to eat. She said they wouldn’t get any premade sandwiches until the afternoon, but suggested a canned tuna salad thing. I’d seen Monique eating one before, so I figured I’d try it.
The landscape was actually quite lovely today. This is a very different kind of farmland than I’ve been used to already. Before it was cows, and now there’s no cows to be seen, but lots of agriculture. Lots of sunflowers, some vegetables, and some kind of grain I’m unfamiliar with.
I ended up stopping at a bench outside a church at the next town to eat. Nichoise tuna salad. It wasn’t terrible, but I could tell it was the first processed food I’ve had in 3 weeks, so I didn’t know how that would go. I had to eat something, though.
While I was sitting at the church, I met two people from Australia, but tomorrow is their last day. So many Aussies on this trip!
As I walked out of town, I got to see some of the sunflowers being harvested.
It was a quite lovely walk through the farmland. There were a few steep hills, and on one particular hill I had to rest about every 10 steps. Overall I am doing quite well. I could be a lot worse off than I am. I’m sure the early medication and the blessing helped, but with any illness, it’s moving through phases. Today I was quite a bit more fatigued, but the breathing didn’t hurt quite as badly.
Some of the fields I passed were growing a strange grain. The stalk looked like corn, but the head was definitely not corn. I was thinking maybe it was something like amaranth, and the head did look very much like amaranth, but the stalk was all wrong. After a bit of searching I discovered that it’s sorghum. It was pretty cool to see whole fields of it. It almost looks like a weed, but they’re growing it on purpose.
The town I’m staying in is rather unique. The whole city is built on top of a little hill. The first time you see it from a distance, it kind of reminded me of Oz. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get a good picture of it. As you get closer, there’s never really a good angle. Maybe tomorrow as I leave there will be some good shots. My gîte was part way up the hill on the way to the old city, so I didn’t even make it that far. I did not feel like going out to explore at all. I took a shower, and I didn’t even wash my clothes today. I just stayed (see what I did there?) in bed for a few hours until dinner. Not quite sleeping, and not quite warm enough.
Even with being sick, as I was walking today, I was thinking about how grateful I am to still being able to do this. To be here and to be experiencing all of this. The last few weeks have been trying, with the rain, and the sting, and the infection, and I’m sure there’s more to come, but I’m still so glad to be here.
Dinner was quite lovely. I ended up on a corner of the table with 3 other English speakers. Tom, who is actually from England, and he’s a camino addict, and Linda and Simon, the Aussies I met at the church during my lunch. It was quite enjoyable for everyone to just have a nice English conversation. We were actually the last group to finish, which is kind of amusing.
I got so wrapped up in the conversation, I forgot to take a picture of the main course! We started with a salad and a savory tart thing, and then sausages and mashed potatoes. The sausages were very good, the best I’ve had yet. And I didn’t take a picture. Oh, and they were cooked with figs. It was a very good combination. Then there was a cheese course, and some kind of mousse/pudding/something, which was very good, and fruity, but I didn’t eat much because I wasn’t sure how much dairy was in it.
Tom has been to Santiago 3 times already this year, and once was walking from England. He said he’s only had 10 days of rest between trips, and he has a very understanding wife. This trip he is going to Roncesvalles, and then back over the Pyrenees to St. Jean. He says it’s good to know the mountain from both directions. He’s doing it again in January and wants to be prepared.
Linda and Simon are done walking tomorrow and are catching a train in Moissac.
Tom thinks I should be able to find new poles in Moissac.