Friday, 6 December 2013

Via Podiensis (October 29, 2013) - Day 51 Castelnau-sur-l'Auvignon to Montreal du Gers

What a great day for walking today...sunny (was supposed to rain) in the low 20's with a slight breeze. Again the walking was relatively easy and we covered 28 kms in 6 hours.

Last night was a real treat both from a meal and company perspective...what a difference a day makes! There were 5 of us Georges, Cyrille, me, Andre and Jeanine ( the hebergement owners). They also have 3 daughters who have left the family home...empty nesters they have opened a B&B for pilgrims. Andre, whose last name is Rodrigez, was born in France however his parents are from Spain. 

Many Spanish people moved to this area of France during the General Franco era. The conversation was light and free flowing and both Andre and Jeanine were open about the current challenges facing pilgrims I.e rapidly escaping cost associated with less service. Supper was delicious.

Super hearty soup with duck and regional sausage
Great dessert with prunes, cranberries and nuts at bottom
Complimentary Armagnac
Huge Armagnac bottle now empty...we did not do this!
We were given a complimentary Armagnac as they expected we could be the last pilgrims of the year. 

As per the usual routine I was the first out the door at 8:00, Georges at 8:20 and Cyrille at 9:00. I found the walking really interesting and soon found myself in Condom where I bought food for the day.

Four musketeers statue in Condom
Cathedral in Condom
Georges joined me Condom and after some trial and error walking (one Canadian lapel pin give for assistance with direction) we were on our way. A few pictures from the day...

Andre and Jeanine's yard


Pont d'Artigne

The highlight of the day was lunch where Georges and I left the GR65 and went for a few hundred meters to la Chapelle Rouget. There we took two rickety chairs from la Chapelle, placed them at the edge of the terrace graveyard and ate overdoing a huge vineyard in a valley. It was sunny and a great rest.

Chapelle Rouget
Lunch spot

My arrival in Montreal du Gers

At the Carpe Diem we met a Canadian couple from Ottawa...Ruth and Brook. They are retired and are slowly doing the le Puy route...they started Oct 1st, I started Oct 9th and we now find ourselves in the same location. 

A few years ago they completed the Camino Frances and have also done the Annapurna circuit in Nepal. Next spring they are planning the Portuguese Camino...who knows we may meet again in Santiago de Compostela. Ruth and Brook lived 5 years in my home town in and around 2000...can't shake the feeling that our paths have previously crossed.

Future Pilgrims

We are in the Carpe Diem B&B which is very welcome break for all of us...real comfort! Micheline and Claude welcomed us warmly...Georges met Micheline earlier on le Chemin. Micheline was walking to get a feel for what the life of a pilgrim is like.

Georges received the Royal treatment as he is in a room for 3. Cyrille and I are in another 2 bed room which is still with a shower! The Carpe Diem is in an ideal location being less than 100 metres from le Chemin.

The cost for demi pension for us was 35 euros...I am quite sure Micheline gave us a special rate therefore expect to pay a bit more.

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