Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 13 Cajarc to Vaylats Sat. October 9, 2010

Our proprietress, Madame Celine showed up at 7:30am armed with baquettes for our breakfast and the invoice for our night's lodging. We were off at 7:45am and met Ann Marie as we were leaving town. Meeting up with Ann Marie is always a good sign because she always knows where the route is.

We played leap frog with her all day. We walked for half an hour before we hit the morning's steep climb - 50 minutes up a rocky path. We took one rest and drink break and then had lunch in Limogne en Quercy. We had our picnic lunch on the patio of a pizza shop. We didn't worry about taking advantage of their patio as the restaurant was closed and the sign indicated that it was only open three nights a week; Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9:30pm until 11:30pm. Seriously! As I've mentioned, businesses, shops, restaurants and grocery stores all close down in the afternoon. We were fortunate enough to arrive at the tourist office in Limogne en Quercy and make reservation at the monastery in Vaylats just before they shut down for the afternoon too. We've discovered that most towns have tourist offices and that most of them are closed most of the time. That might be a slight exaggeration but not much of one.

This was another hot, sweaty, thirsty and long day. We weren't moving very quickly and our water bottles were empty. The few little villages we passed through had 'rien', nothing; no epiceries, no cafes and no potable water to be found. Our guide book said there was an nice restaurant in Bach, just three or four kilometers from our destination but that it was not open on weekends. Well, as we passed said restaurant, I saw some people sitting at tables on the patio and we were delightfully surprised to learn that it was open and the owner welcomed us up for some drinks, tonic with lemon - marvellous. Her restaurant had been featured on one of Jamie Oliver's cooking shows and she was still beaming with pride. That welcomed rest and the drinks gave us enough of a second wind to walk through the fields and laneways up to the monastery.

The monastery in Vaylats is still a very active convent of nuns. It was a huge complex of buildings. At dinner the dining hall was quite full of nuns, hospitaleros, pilgrims and visitors. It was a rather unassuming and unpromising start to the dinner. A very watery, 'maybe vegetarian' soup and large bowls of green beans with hard boiled eggs, and a marinated mystery meat salad were served to each table. Everyone was helping themselves to seconds and thirds, thinking this was the entire menu. Surprise! Large platters of pasta and bowls of a lamb stew were brought out and this course was followed by a large selections of cheeses and just when we thought we were finished, the hospitalero gave us all ice cream nutty buddies. Going to need a big morning climb to wear this one off.

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