Saugues - La Clauze - Le Falzet - Le Villeret d'Apchier - Chanaleilles - Le Sauvage
Today was a perfect day on the Camino.
Jill, it reminded me of our 'Casa Carmen' day. The path was kind, the countryside was peaceful, the forests majestic - and the sun came out! It was the first 'pants off' day by which I mean the bottom halves of my.hiking pants were zipped off. Always a cause for celebration. By early afternoon we had arrived at Le Sauvage en Gevaudan a collective managed by 33 farmers who decided to revive this exceptional historical site in the heart of the Margeride region. This is our gite for tonight. This time we are 6 to a room - a light, bright and spacious room.
Another short distance today but Glenn, Sheryl and I walked ahead for much of the day which meant we were here soon after 2 - time to enjoy the sunshine, and get our washing done and on the line. Another significant event.
I feel so fortunate to be here tonight considering that last night I was wondering whether I would walk on today. There was talk among my companions of continuing for some time walking at around 20 kms each day. But I am mindful that too many short days may mean I won't have the option to walk the whole of the Camino Primitivo after completing the Camino Le Puy. Even though that idea is not set in stone I am keen to keep the option open at least this early on. So this was weighing on my mind last night. On the one hand I don't want to lose my options too early on. On the other hand, I am not ready to part from this group.
By the time I woke this morning it was clear to me that all I needed to do was to do nothing but to see how the day unfolded and the answer would become clear. I didn't know then that shortly after walking out of Saugues the Camino would provide a reminder for me to take one day at a time. More on that later.
In reflecting on the first few days I know that I have not written at all about the history or culture of the towns and villages I've walked through so far, nor about the sumptuous produce and wonderful meals we have enjoyed with our hosts always presenting local specialties and 'secret' recipes like the famous green lentils we enjoyed in Le Puy. The truth is, as those who have followed my earlier blogs will know, I tend not to focus on those things. There is so much local history and culture particular to each town or village that I know very little and would not know where to begin. For those who have a special interest the names of each village we pass through will give you a starting point to learn more.
As with my earlier two Caminos, what stays with me is the countryside and architecture (hopefully portrayed best in photos not words), and the people, the sense of community and random acts of kindness. This is what epitomises the Camino for me. Just one short story to illustrate. More another day when the wi-fi is not so 'fragile'.
Last night one of the pilgrims at our gite was Sylvie, a lovely French lady we first met in Le Puy together with her partner Vincent, a former Swiss high flyer who now runs a donativo (by donation) further along the Le Puy path. Perhaps I will stay there. But that's another story. Sylvie told us of a man she met Phillipe who is now walking the Camino Le Puy and leaving messages along Thr Way tied to fences and trees to provide support to fellow pilgrims. Just a short way out of Saugues this morning I read the first of Phillipe's notes. The literal translation is 'The first thing for a pilgrim to learn on The Camino is to take care of each day'. I take that to mean take one day at a time. Of course this is always the way of The Camino but sometimes I forget. As soon as I read Phillipe's message, a burden lifted. I'm so pleased to have had that timely reminder and to be in this special place tonight with old friends and new friends. I'm so glad I didn't walk on.
Before I sign off thank you to Marian, Jan, Cathy, David, Dad, Sue and Judy for you comments, emails and messages. It's such a thrill to hear from home.
I wonder what Thr Camino has in store tomorrow