Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 17 Lauzerte to Moissac Wed. Oct 13 2010

So often the days and the towns and the paths just merge together in one's impressions and memories. Dayton has an incredible memory for geographic detail. He can recall where the path was paved, where it was rough and rocky, which came first - a farm field or a river walk. On the other hand, I'm hopeless. I need photographic evidence and journal entries to recall where we went, when we went and where we stayed and where we turned in and when we were on the road. Ergo - my blog. The entire point of being on a pilgrimage is to live simply and to be in the moment but sometimes during the walk I just follow the leader and rather than 'be in the moment' I'm often 'lost in the moment'. I keep losing touch with one of my primary goals - to pay attention.

This was the morning that Valentine and I were at breakfast early and were talking about our children. She reminded me of Sainte Rita, the patron saint of hopeless and desperate causes and encouraged me to pray to Sainte Rita to ask for help for some of the things that are worrisome for me. I'm anxious that, now that my children have completed their Masters degrees, they find a viable and satisfying job and career. I'm anxious that, now that my mother has moved out of her home and into an apartment, she is able to sell her house and lessen that financial burden. Following Valentine's spiritual advice, I added a few prayerful moments to my walking meditation.

Sometimes the camino adds extra kilometres to the route just to take the walkers away from a busy auto route. Today we walked an extra two or three kilometres through a non-descript field just to avoid a half a kilometer along a main road. Not sure I needed to be spared that. We had also been warned that when you see your first sign indicating you were in Moissac you really had another three kilometres to walk. Good to know. Coming into Moissac was our first instance of commercial and city life; streets, traffic, industry and noise. As we walked the three kilometres into the centre of Moissac, I was excited to see a McDonalds sign. Now McDonalds holds no particular appeal to me at home but here it was a beacon of comfort and I was on the lookout for the promised golden arches. Never did find them. McDonalds must have been off the GR65 and I don't veer from the GR65 - not even for McDonalds.

We did find the tourist information center beside the beautiful abbey and then went on to find our chambre d'hote, Ultreia. This gite d'etape with chambres was run by an Irish couple who had walked their own pilgrimage a few years ago and opened their gite with the intention of making the experience of other pilgrims a good one. They definitely added to our camino. We were greeted immediately with the offer of food and drink and a good chat. Julia was in the gite and Dayton and I had booked a room to ourselves. Before dinner, we headed back up to the abbey to hear the nuns chant vespers. The nuns voices were so pure and beautiful. Didn't have a clue what they were singing and chanting but it was a nice sound nonetheless.There was a little boy, about 6 years old, who sat silently beside one of the nuns following the service in a huge hymn book. After the service, it was this youngster who proudly stamped our credenciales.

Back at the gite, we had a simple but hearty dinner of soup, green beans, carrots, boiled potatoes, chicken in wine sauce for the non-vegetarians and a pasta with veggies and chevre cheese for me. Dessert was ice cream with peaches and a raspberry coulis and a biscuit. And for the first time, tea and coffee were offered after dinner. Wonderful. I'm not saying we didn't eat well on our Camino Frances in Spain but we certainly did not have the variety that we have had in France and, other than potatoes and soggy white asparagus, we certainly did not have vegetables. This is good, really good.

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