Today,a day that was supposed to be our 'short, easy' day, was 14 kms but felt like 16.5kms and this had nothing to do with adjustment for elevation and everything to do with getting caught up in the glory of a beautiful morning walk and not paying attention to the way markers. AAAArgh!!! We walked along a lovely flat, dirt country road before reaching a Hilary and suddenly coming to attention and relaxing that we hadn't seen an indication in a long long time. We consulted the guidebooks (obviously not soon enough) and headed back almost the entire way back to town, found the correct cairn and GR sign and, more than an hour after our start, we were on the right track and on our way. Onward and upward, upward and onward and up and up and up.
A lesson or two to be learned here: 1. Read the guidebook the night before. 2. Pay attention and 3. The most obvious lesson... If you aren't confronted by a huge climb within the first 15 minutes of your morning walk, you are probably not on the right route. I also need to take some ownership as I tend to rely on Dayton and Julia pathfinder skills and, where one should 'Lead, follow or get the heck out of the way,' I just put my head down and do the latter two. I might even read the guidebook tonight although I'll probably just end up intimidated knowing what's in store....like a difficulty level 3 hike over 29kms. Sometimes it's just best not to know.
Anyway, we walked up and up the usual rocky path. I think the French must have decided that " Ifall these foreigners are going to come over here to borrow our saints to atone for their sins then maybe we should make them earn it. Let's steer that trail up and over ...everything." I just have to say to all my CrossFit enthusiast friends (Brad take note) that this pilgrim route can challenge any of your WOD's (Workout of the Day). What our walks (and I use that term loosely) lack in speed and explosive power they make up for in strength and endurance. 'Tough it out.' is the motto of the day.
At one point, after walking through a forest, we came out onto a huge stony outcrop where a stone labyrinth was laid out. Each passing pilgrim was to take one of the many stones laying around and add to the labyrinth. We did and then kept on walking. We arrived I. Lodève around two in the afternoon and a young girl came to sign us in and show us our places. This is another very well equipped, clean gîte. We have our own room with our own shower and bath. There is a heated hanger in the bathroom to dry our laundry. There is also a massive common room with a dining room that accommodates about twelve for dinner. Fortunately we will only be five for dinner as we are combining forces with the British couple, Effie and Michael, known to each other as Pickles! (Really). There is also a huge garden outside to enjoy the sunshine.
Before dinner though we had to go buy groceries and because Dayton and Julia are such hearty enthusiastic eaters we had to have an wee appetizer... Double cheeseburgers and frites. We don't come across these very often so it's a treat not to pass up.
So overall, the Way is tough, my feet hurt yet still "Tout va se passer bien."