For once it was my turn to wake everyone up at 5.35 although judging from the snoring I wasn’t too successful. Fr and N were ready and eating breakfast and soon we were on our way.
I slept quite well because I was first into the shed when Mademoiselle was assigning bunks and managed to get one alongside two windows. But soon after we set off the early mist vanished and by 8.45 the sun’s intentions were clear. The temperature rose and the humidity was awful.
The GR65 has been magnificent but this part of France is intensively farmed and the opportunity for creating an interesting route is limited. Either that or the GR team got bored or injured and just drove the rest of the way along tarmac roads, painting their signs as they went. The combination of high temperatures and limited accommodation options means it is now a bit of a slog to the Pyrenees. However we have just 3 days (80 Kms) remaining before we arrive in Saint-Jean PdP at the very foot of the mountains so I expect to see them soon and I hope for a rousing finale for the Via Podiensis. I am lucky to continue for a further 3 days over the mountains to Pamplona and if that isn’t the stunning climax to this walk that I’m expecting I’ll eat my hat. Except I’ll wash it at 60 degrees first.
Anyway we arrived at the gite soon after midday before the worst of the heat. The gite is also a bar and cafe and the astute owner maintained that the gite was still closed, encouraging us all to order lunch.
I enjoyed talking to Fr who is French and just retired and N who is French Canadian and has just graduated from film school. If I don’t get that job with UNESCO I might apply to film school. I could get a big student loan and never have to repay it because it’s unlikely my earnings would ever reach the threshold.
If you looked at yesterday’s photo selection you’d have seen a Monty Pythonesque scene of P, the US business consultant sitting at a desk in the woods on a Skype video conference. He turned up at the gite mid afternoon like a crazy lost prospector coming out of the Sahara. Doors banging and shouting for a beer. To be fair, he was in a terrible state having walked 38Km, tarmac stuck to his boots. I am constantly reminded of Noel Coward’s song “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”.