La Cassagnole - Faycelles - Bedeur - Cajarc
Stunning blue skies again today on the Camino Le Puy. It's 4.30 pm as I begin this update, and 22 degrees in Cajarc. The weather could not be better - more like early summer than early spring according to the locals.
Today was certainly the easiest day's walking so far on The Way and the most isolated. I saw just one other pilgrim briefly as I passed through a tiny village in the late morning. I don't know why but I didn't feel lonely or uneasy. I just kept walking. I didn't really have enough food in my pack and there wasn't an opportunity to buy anything after the first 5 kms, so that may have kept me moving at a pretty good pace. Before I knew it, I was at my destination.
I had a good feeling when I walked down the steep rocky path towards Cajarc. What a lovely town. Although it was only 2 in the afternoon I decided I would have an 'early mark' and take a room to myself for the first time. This may seem counter-intuitive to treat yourself after a short and relatively easy day. But the way I look at it if you're going to splurge on a private room you may as well have the time to enjoy it.
The gold standard of this approach was set in April 2013 when Jill and I planned a short day into Leon to make the most of our stay at the fabulous Parador de Leon. We walked 18 kms and still made it to the hotel reception desk by 11.45, a little early for the 12 noon check-in. We didn't waste a minute. My accommodation tonight is not quite El Parador but it's special in a different way.
When I arrived I wandered around the town, found a shady spot down by the river and consulted the Miam Miam Dodo, the most comprehensive of the Camino Le Puy guide books - available in French, but not English, so I muddle through. The phrase Miam Miam Dodo is French baby talk for Yum Yum Beddy-bys. A strange name but the guide includes information on food and accommodation so I guess that makes sense! An obvious accommodation choice didn't jump out at me. Perhaps some local knowledge would help.
As it's Monday afternoon most shops, bars and cafes are closed but when I walked through the main square earlier I noticed the office de tourisme was open. It's housed in a beautiful old chapel. The lady behind the counter was most helpful and suggested a Chambre d'Hote with rooms for one or two persons and not too expensive. And she offered to call on my behalf. Trop facile. Yes a room was available for me. She walked me out of the chapel, and directed me to take a right and then a left and walk down to the end of the grassy lane.
By the time I was halfway down the lane, a lady appeared. This was Evelyne. It turns out I am to be a guest in her home - she and her husband Roland and their beautiful golden English Cocker Spaniel, Alaine. Evelyne greeted me warmly She showed me to my lovely bedroom and then to the bathroom, gave me fresh towels and insisted I use the shampoo, body wash, moisturiser - whatever I wanted! Before long I was showered and changed and sitting down to a cup of tea and home made cake.
Evelyne invited me to have dinner at home tonight with she and Roland, and her brother Michel and sister in law Nadine who are visiting for a few days. She said not to feel any obligation but I was more than welcome. I hesitated only for a few seconds. I'd love to!
In the meantime, I thought I would spend an hour or two wandering around the town but would be sure to be back by 8 for dinner. I was about to head out when Evelyne asked if I would give her any washing I would like done! It was no trouble, she insisted, and in this weather it would all be dry by tonight. What a kind and gracious hostess.
So I've been out for a few hours and have returned to find all my clothes clean, dry and folded on my bed. And in time to finish this update and have a quick nap before dinner. I'm looking forward to that - and will report back tomorrow.
Before I sign off, thanks so much for being in touch - Audrey, Rosanne, Mandi, Connie, Helen C. and Jan C. Jan, I've noted your request for a photo of my legs without socks and will do so very soon. I'm feeling a little pressure so perhaps I'll give it a day or two more in the sun. Though I do think that low tan line mark is coming along well!