Last night’s Gite Gua in Figeac was one of the best so far. Madame Frederique put her heart and soul into providing a very special stay. 15 of us sat around her table for dinner and she served a delicious dark green soup which we later discovered was nettle soup. She had picked the nettles herself in the morning. Next was an omelette, chips and veg for the main course, served from a huge oven dish. And then, best of all, real home made goats cheese. Chocolate fondant and ice cream completed the meal. Among the pilgrims was a Swiss couple, the woman actually being English born. So with some help and much encouragement I managed a little more participation in the conversation than normal. We agreed to walk together in the morning.
After breakfast Madame Frederique gave us all a goodbye kiss and off we went. It was a bit of a late start and progress up the steep hill out from Figeac was very slow. However along came A&R walking at a decent pace and I joined them. A is Australian and R is Canadian (and not the French kind). What joy to finally encounter native English speakers. R is bound for Cahors. Incredibly A said he is going to Pamplona. We both thought the same thought but sadly he is following an itinerary devised by a manic travel agent and constrained by international flights, waiting relatives etc. How not to do a Camino. I have booked the next few nights accommodation to get me past the Ascension Day Holiday and didn’t feel like cancelling them at short notice and trying to make new bookings while traveling at maximum speed to Pamplona. So instead I have pulled into another very good gite in Grealou, the Gite Ecoasis while they pressed on for another 12 Km. But I will meet R in Cahors on Saturday.
I think the man from UNESCO has walked this way because I’m now on another world heritage listed section covering the Causses limestone plateau in Quercy. Watch out for stunted oak trees, stone walls and peculiar little conical stone huts built by shepherds. Walking with A&R today was a revelation. Instead of looking at the endless buttercups, poppies and honeysuckle, R gave us a lecture on all the orchids along the way, pointing out which ones smelled of goats and the ones which look like they have bees attached. Only certain species of bee pollinate each orchid. Of course, progress was interrupted as every unusual specimen was photographed.
Madame Frederique serves her enormous omelette de la maison
Lunch today in a farmer’s garden: the definitive Croques Monsieur
A pigeonnier built to collect pigeon droppings for fertiliser
The Croques Monsieur
A stone shepherds hut
Strange bee orchids