Well today we found out when the cafes are open - 8:00am! As we walked out of town through the slowly awakening city streets, we found the cafes quite busy with morning coffee drinkers, leisurely taking time for their caffeine boost before they head off to work. The way out of town took us across the river via a beautiful three towered bridge and to the foot of an imposing cliff. And yes, we began our steep climb up the rocky steps of the cliff which was called the 'passage sportif'. It was very slow going as the steps were slick, wet and slippery and really, really deep so it was quite a stretch and a struggle for my short stride. After we reached the top and were catching our breathe, Dayton took out his Alison Raju guide book and NOW read the advice that says "if it is wet, or if your packs are too heavy, then take the road not the 'passage sportif". Might have been a good idea to read that at the bottom of the cliff! The rest of the day was on and off light rain, fairly flat terrain so it should have been easy going but.........mud! The mud of the paths would cake our boots so that it was like walking on four inch platform heels and carrying an extra four pounds of weight on our feet. Julia and I were both complaining of shin splints and Dayton was coughing. Not looking good. It was slick and wet all day and we were averaging not much more than 3kms an hour. Pitifully slow. One thing that isn't slow is the way the French drive. There seems to be a tendency to drive all out, pedal to the metal and all. This time the wet roads took their toll as we noticed a car overturned on the side of the road and the emergency crews working at the scene. The gite in Lascabanes, Le Nid de Anges, was a five star gite. There was an opportunity to go to mass before dinner but we decided to stay in the lounge area, write our journals, massage our shin splints and share a very nice bottle of red wine. I personally found that to be a very spiritual release. That Cecile, our hostess, was a very dedicated, talented perfectionist had already been evident by how clean and neatly organized her gite was. There were shelves of items for purchase on the honour system; chocolate bars, soaps, fruits and postcards. Posted signs informed us of the 'house rules' - where to put muddy boots, where to put used sheets and pillowcases. The dining room was set up with a variety of teas and cookies. Very welcoming. Dinner was a marvel. We had a wonderful soup, followed by a bulgar wheat vegetarian entree for the vegetarians (doh) and a chicken fricasse that the meat lovers raved over. The apple cobbler with a raspberry coulis for dessert was wonderful. This was one of the gites we'd like to return to just for the food.