47,762 steps! That was the total number of steps it took me to go today's 33kms and surprisingly it was not tortuously difficult, just difficult. Adele and Keith and my iPod got me through the last three hours of this eight and a half hour day. And then there was another half hour to our gîte - uphill need I say?
We actually started out this morning earlier than usual but later than expected as we took time to have breakfast with Effie and Michael (aka Pickle and Pickle), our British pilgrim companions. Michael had gone out at 6:30am to get fresh baquettes. I swear my height in baquettes is consumed by each pilgrim every meal. The first part of the walk took us up through some woods and then it was a continuous climb along mountain switchbacks but the grade, while relentless, was fairly reasonable. No heavy breathing required just determination. Around 2pm in the village of Joncels, we stopped at a gîte, supposedly rated in the top gîtes in France for a drink. The gîte was excessively decorated with the most bizarre, grotesque, gargoylean wood-carvings ever - made by the owner's father-in-law. I hope there are no grandchildren who have to visit grandpa and the wild creatures his psychotic imagination has conjured up, probably in his art therapy classes. They would surely inspire nightmares in even the least imaginative child and who has ever met a child with little imagination.
It wasn't too many more hours to the church in Saint Martin d'Orb, our destination for the day. Yay! Our gîte was tucked away somewhere in the hills on the outskirts of this village and difficult to fine but a lady with a kind heart not only gave directions but, when recognizing our dismay that once again there was store open where we could buy some food for tomorrow, she went home, got her vehicle,found us on the road again and asked if she could drive me to the next village for supplies. Dayton took my pack on up to the village ( I swear I didn't know it was over a kilometre uphill), while I got my money, jumped into the passenger seat and went shopping. The next village was a good 15 minute drive and Angelise, this Good Samaritan, waited for me to make my purchases and drove me back to the gîte. Really, the kindness of strangers. So now here we are showered, rehydrated after several glasses of water mixed lemonade syrup and Coke Zero, and a snack of chips and Tuck crackers. We have our own room and shower as this is actually a Chambre d'hotes, more B&B than gîte. We have booked demi-pensionne so we are looking forward to an evening meal, probably a pretty late evening meal. Maybe it will include one of the chickens from the backyard chicken coop. I think I'm kidding.
Actually dinner was a light endive salad, rabbit (OMGoodness - not for me of course), rice and absolutely the best cauliflower ever ....choufleur in a bechamel sauce topped with emmanthel cheese. Dessert was yogurt, cheese and more bread.
The weather has been awesome but everyone is predicting rain for tomorrow. Maybe if we keep our raincoats and ponchos at the top of our packs ready for a wet onslaught, the rain will be contrary and hold off.