Day 4 – Tuesday, 30 July – Saint Agreve to Nonieres – 25km
I tried to make a reservation in Chalcenon, but no one answered. At breakfast, I tried to call a place that said they spoke English. I asked if they did, and the guy said, “auvoir madame,” and hung up! I’ve never had that happen before. Maybe he dreads those phone calls even more than I do. Cecile was going to call him back, but I didn’t want to make a reservation at a place that wasn’t welcoming! It just didn’t feel right. She tried to call 7 more places in my book but no one answered. I left at 9 am without having a place to go. It was certainly unnerving, but I had to have faith that things would work out. There’s a saying that, “the Camino provides,” and I have found that to be the case.
I was super sore and stiff when I got up this morning. I wondered how things would be today, but by the time I was walking out I felt pretty good. I think I was even walking faster than normally. I had complimented the bread at breakfast, so Cecile gave me the second baguette, which turned out to be a good thing, because the place I stopped in, there is no breakfast, and the boulangerie is closed on Wednesdays.
I did decide to walk in the long sleeve to let my burn heal a bit. I think it was a good idea, but it got up to 80 later and that was kinda rough. It was another beautiful day and I felt like I was making really good time. It was pretty flat at the beginning, so I knew something was coming. A wide vista opened up, showing that I was at the top of a mountain, and I could see towns down below. Guess what that means? Yeah, you probably guessed it. I had to go down the whole mountain. You will be happy to know, my knees did remarkably well. I know the prayers are working, thank you!
There was a really cool old ruins. I don’t know what the story is behind it. The path leading down from it was barely even a path. I had flash backs to falling down the mountain in Muxia. Thankfully no falls were had, and no ankles were turnt, though there were ample opportunities for both.
Last time, a lot of people had problems near the beginning that caused them to have to leave early. I knew that with my issues, if I reached Santiago it would be a miracle. I knew going into this that I would need another miracle. And because I had one last time doesn’t mean I used it up. Miracles happen all the time.
Part way down the mountain I felt like I was making really good time. I’d already gone about 9km and that meant I had 20k to go and it was noon. I felt confident that I could reach Chalcenon at 6 pm. I tried calling the place I had settled on, but they didn’t answer, so I sent an email.
After going down the mountain, I followed a long bike path along the river through the canyon. It was very beautiful, but it was all road walking.
I finally saw lizards today! Lots of lizards in all sizes. Twice I saw a large green one with a yellow belly that I’ve never seen before. It was about 5-6 times as big as the ones you normally see.
It was hot and I was feeling a bit defeated. I sat down in some shade to check how far I still had to go. I’d gone 20k, but according to the signs, I still had another 20k to go! I got an email back confirming my booking, but I realized there was no way I was going to make it by 6, or even at all. I had not planned for a 40k day. I did fill my water bladder (I realized I should specify which bladder) this morning because yesterday I ran out. It turned out to be a very good thing I did.
The closest town with accommodation was Nonieres, and I tried calling the Gîte but got a message. I was getting a little worried. I finally reached the town around 4. I went to the bar that I found online that had rooms for $66. I asked if they had a room, and she asked if I meant in the Gîte. I said yes, and she said they had room. That saved me $54. It’s just a bed for 12.70 E. No breakfast and no dinner. I asked where I could eat in town, and she said, “only me.” I thought she meant the bar, but she actually meant herself. She is going to make me a plate with salad and lasagna! It’s better than nothing.
There are three rooms in the Gîte with 6 beds each. There are 3 groups, I’m one group, so even though I’m actually in a Gîte with other people, I still might get a room all to myself.
There is no clothes line, but I did laundry anyway and hung my line outside. I’ve worn the same socks for 3 days, so I really needed to wash them! Brining your own line and pins is necessary.
It is still 16k from Nonieres to Chalcenon, and was planning on going 22k tomorrow. That means I have to go 38k. If those distances are also correct… So it turns out it was a good thing one one answered and I couldn’t make a reservation, because Heavenly Father knew I wouldn’t make it anyway.
So tomorrow is a very long day, but I think I will be able to do it as long as I’m prepared and leave early enough. Apparently there is breakfast at 7:30, I just heard her tell the other group that. I need to decide if I stay for that. I figure tomorrow could take more than 11 hours, so… I really need to leave as early as possible. Sunrise is at 6:30, ish. But leaving that early also means I will get to chalcenon too early to eat lunch, but maybe I’ll be able to get something at a grocery store.
The third group is two women and a man and a little dog. They know English well enough and they invited me to eat with them! The lady at the bar is making us all plates.
So I actually ended up not eating with them. They were not in a hurry to get their food and I was hungry. They were cold plates, so I had to heat it up in the microwave. They are still sitting in front of the bar. I guess I probably should have eaten with them, but I want to get everything ready for tonight so I can leave early. They are biking and bringing their little dog, Cashew, with them. She’s some kind of wheaten terrier, so kind of looks like a cashew.
Dinner and a croissant and a pain at chocolate for tomorrow was 15 E. So basically Demi pension for 27 E. Really not bad. I paid the lady last night 26, so that was pretty close. And this place has outlets.
I just checked my bladder and I drank most of it. I will definitely use it tomorrow for my very long day!
The salad dressing in France is divine. It’s mostly all a mustard vinaigrette, but the mustard doesn’t taste like it does in the US. It’s almost more like a spicy, Chinese mustard. Like the good stuff from Flying Tiger, not the nasty stuff from the packets. So the salad was good. The lasagna was heavy on the meat and grease, and low on cheese and sauce.. Also a little low on salt, but overall a pretty good meal for a hiker. The chocolate mousse was absolutely divine. I’ve been trying to pay attention to see if the sweets affect me the same way they do in the US. This one was definitely sweeter than anything I’ve had so far, so I’ll be interested to see what happens. It was really good.
Oh, something funny. When I asked her how much dinner was she said, “thirty” and my eyes bulged. I was trying to figure out how a lasagna was three times the price of the bed. It was thirteen lol. I was relieved.