Day 16 - Lauzerte - Dufort-Lacapelette - Moissac (25.7 kms)
Day 17 - Moissac - Boudou - Malause - Espalaine - Auvillar - Saint-Antoine (29.1 kms)
Apologies for starting another update with a disclaimer but I am in a small village tonight in the one bar / restaurant with internet coverage - and it's patchy. I'm doing my best to upload a few photos and write an update while sitting unobtrusively on one glass of wine before dinner. So I want to write the most important things first, in case the connection disappears.
I've received some lovely messages over the last two days - from Helen (Mum), Mandi, Joan, Sue, Rosanne and Marian. And Anna - who I farewelled this morning and who, just a few hours later (still on the train, I guess), sent through a comment via the blog! Quelle surprise. Merci ma jeune souer. Thank you all for your kindness.
Special thanks to Marian for having Zac and Zoe over for a play date on Easter Sunday - they would have been beside themselves with excitement. And to Marian, Judy, Jan and Mary for taking the Zs for an outing to Tunks Park, and to Judy for sending the great photo of the Zs with their buddies Lil and Gertie. It was so nice to see and hear how well they are doing - I am grateful to you all and to Clare and Richard for taking such good care of them at home.
And big thank you to Jill for your call yesterday. It was wonderful to have such a long chat as I was wandering along The Way. As it turned out, your encouragement could not have been more timely. I thought of your words often today, which turned put to be one of my harder days. Tu comprends bien les jours difficile sur le Camino. Merci mon amie.
So back to the past two days. I didn't write an update last night as we had arrived in Moissac mid afternoon and wanted to spend some time exploring the famous abbey and cloisters. Also there was a pre-dinner vino in the plaza to farewell Anna followed by a family style al fresco dinner in the garden of our gite. We stayed in the Ultreia gite in Moissac - from the Spanish word Ultreya, meaning 'walk on'. It was the first non-French gite I've come across. Our hosts were a delightful Irish couple, Rom and Adine, who live there with their 6 year old son Matthew and 18 month old terrier, Minnie (pictured). More to tell about this lovely couple - hopefully will get to it in another update.
Walking and weather wise, the past two days could not have been more different. Easter Saturday was all blue sky and sunshine, not a particularly long day, though a tougher path than expected. I walked along happily with Anna. It was her last day on the Chemin du Puy for the time being. It's been such fun to walk with Anna. I haven't mentioned before but she has really been suffering - problems with her big toes and little toes on both feet and her heel as well. Her bandages and my hikers wool have helped a little but I know she was in considerable pain. You would never know from her smile and spirit. I admire her courage.
Today, Easter Sunday, was grey skies, raining, along a mostly flat path alongside a canal for about 20 of the 29 kms. I walked alone all day though there were other pilgrims ahead and behind. I tend to walk faster on my own so I didn't mind and I didn't mind the drizzling rain - it had to happen some time. What could possibly go wrong?
Long story short, I went off the Chemin twice today - the first time due to my impatience and the second because I wasn't paying attention. Lessons on the Camino are often very simple and quantifiable. My impatience and not being present today added about an hour and a half and 6 kms to my 29 kms. As a result of my 35 kms in the rain, I'm a little worse for wear. And, there were a few tears along the way. I wonder if I have now learned those lessons at least for the remainder of this Camino. J'espere!!
So a tough day today but the many acts and words of kindness that came my way from home more than made up for that. Random acts of kindness are a theme of The Camino. As I left the Ultreia gite this morning in the rain, Irish Rom said something to me which I'm sure he says genuinely to every pilgrim: 'Be sure to ring any time if you need any help. Remember that two days to you on Le Chemin is less than an hour in the car for us'. That's one of the many reasons why I love walking the Camino.