Kit, our Dutch gîte mate was up, packed and ready to go at 6:30am this morning. He had multiple carabiners on his pack with a canvass food bag hooked up from one side to the other, his camera dangling from his neck and with his rain pants and hiking pole he set out. He looked like a travelling salesman (tinker-man?) with all his goods hanging from his clothes.
Bruno, true to his word, drove up at 7:25am with his big black Newfoundland doggie, Must. I don't know what 'Must' means in French but I think it means massive slobbering machine. Bruno and Must led the way for two hours through the forest (this is a familiar morning walk for Bruno and his dogs) with Must coming back to me every now and then to express his drooling wet affection for me. I appreciate his gentle loving nature but Yuck. I hope our chambre d'hôtes has a washing machine tonight. My clothes need it.
Bruno, Must and I
I always refer to how weather is adjusted to a 'feels like' factor, higher for humidity and lower for wind chill, and kilometres have their own 'feels like more' when adjusted for elevation. Today we had five hours of climbing and descending - repeat and repeat and repeat. Now I think we should add another adjustment for muck and mud. Twenty kilometres sure feels like a whole bunch more when you are mud maneuvering and puddle jumping. Then, as if to imply walking up and down hilla with a pack on wasn't enough of a work-out, there was an exercise circuit along the trail..."please take time to stop and lift weights."
Fortunately, the rain held off until we were enjoying a lunch in Oloron Sainte-Marie. After lunch we took time to visit the Tourist Office to have them book rooms for the Saturday and Sunday. I phoned and booked us a room for Friday and I think we have a chambre with demi-pensionne if I interpreted "d'accord, d'accord" correctly. When I don't know what the heck is being said, I just nod my head knowingly and repeat "d'accord, d'accord" like the French and hope for the best. Finding our chambre d'hôtes for the night was little tense for me. The area looks sketchy (my favourite descriptive word for 'what have I booked us into this time' and, just as I was warning Dayton that if this place is suspect we are moving on, we came upon a very inviting entrance to our chambre d'hotes. Once again we have lucked out and we have a truly charming spacious suite in a really really old house.
The Pyrenees have been getting closer and closer, close enough to see the new snow on the top. For the next three days we are moving into the Pyrenees, up the valley floor, up to the Somport Pass and over into Spain and the forecast is so not good. However I guess we just have to 'keep on keeping on'.