Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, April 22 Montarnaud to Saint Guilhem Le Désert

In a family, if Momma is happy, everyone is happy. On the Camino, if your feet are happy, everything is happy; your mind, your body and your spirit. My feet are not happy ergo...... There is not a rock or stone in France that has not been under my tender tootsies. It really is time I trusted the advice to buy boots a size too large. I am definitely too big for my boots.

We started the morning with a 7am sharing breakfast with our ever so efficient and conscientious but not exceptionally warm hostess. France must be home to the world's best and most innovative homemade confecture (jam) makers. Today's jams were pumpkin/orange, kiwi/lime and green tomato/lemon and all were delicious especially on the leftover baquettes from last night's dinner. Hmmm.

We started out at 8:15am. It was very sunny and comfortably cool. Dayton and Julia walked ahead as I turtled along listening to my iPod - the first time I have ever brought it with me. Actually I had a disturbing moment and laugh over this as one time I went into the woods 'to use the facilities' and was startled by a rousing round of applause. I forgot I was listening to a live concert and it was the audience yelling. A bit disconcerting for a moment as I embarrassingly looked around to see who had caught me unawares.

The first town we came to after 12 kms was Ariane. We were happy to find a bar with WiFi (pronounced WeeFee) here so that we could enjoy a drink and a rest while Julia tried to solve her iPhone dilemma. Actually this was a definite déjà vu experience for us as it reminded us of the first ten days of our Camino Frances where we searched every town for an Orange store ( European counterpart to our Rogers) to get John a SIM card. The night before we left Montpellier Julia had dropped her new ilPhone into a bucket of water and we've been looking in every village and town to find a phone store to see if we can get it fixed. No luck. Now she thinks that if she could get her boyfriend, Ricard, to drive her car to meet us and pick up her phone maybe he could get it fixed in Montpellier. The next problem is that being a child of the computer/technology age, all of Julia's contact information is on her phone's memory bank not her own mind's memory bank. The solution was to get on WiFi with our iPad, email Ricard to have him call our cell phone and then beg him to drive up and meet us. Like every good and smart boyfriend worth his Boy Scout Good Samaritan Badge, Ricard showed up in quick time. There was another entire complication as he had to contact Julia's roommate to get her car keys but of course the only number she had for her roommate was on her cell phone. Somehow Ricard figured it out and came through.

There was one part of the walk where we were walking along side a steep impressive gorge. I thought we would be walking beside the river as the guidebook said but we were actually walking on a very busy mountain two land highway with cars whizzing by us. At one point I had plodded on ahead of Julia and Dayton and when I finally turned around to check I had lost track of them. I waited and waited and waited and they never came around the corner. I turned around and headed back to find them all the while thinking that if I can't find them, I have my money, my passport and my plane tickets and I could be back home in less than 40 hours with my feet up. I actually started fantazing about this.

Ricard stayed to have dinner with us in the central square in Saint Guilhem le Désert, a beautiful quaint tourist town. Dining tables are set up all over the square assigned specifically to each of the many surrounding restaurants. The menu of all the restaurants were exactly the same; crepes, waffles, salads and pizzas. We had shared a whipped cream topped waffle when we first arrived so for dinner we had pizzas and salad which were surprisingly good.

Our gîte the Accuel spirituelle Carmel Saint Joseph is run by the Benedictine Sisters. For a gîte, it seems fine...clean and, the best part is that, we are the only ones here. Now as we are sitting in the common room having tea and writing, I am listening to Julia (who is only 27) and Dayton (who is delusional) planning our route for the next couple of days and I'm quietly freaking out as they consider 35km days. Their thought is that walking only 15-20kms seems a wasted day for them.



  1. OMG! Tears of laughter about the applause during you nature call! And ok, I understand 15 might be a bit light km wise, but 35..a bit too much, esp. this early in the trek! I vote with you Karen.

  2. Thirty five kms won out that day but the rain is now slowing us down and trying to coordinate places to stay. The mini iPad is working out fine wherever there is WiFi and is easier for the blog as I can type, save and publish whenever. Thanks for following us along. Karen