Wednesday, 9 May 2012


We've descended nearly 500m today, and Dominique, Roland and I are all staying in Mme. Marcilhac's gîte in the oldest part of this busy town (it has nearly 5000 inhabitants), beside the River Lot. Life here is lived on a far more sophisticated plane than in the quiet village of St Chély, where I spent last night. And the gardens are full of iris, wysteria, even roses, which makes it seem as if I have been wrenched from one season into the next. It was to have been 22 kms., but exhaustion overcame me, and I cut out the last uphill/downhill, thus saving myself a couple of kms. The climb up the steep spiral staircase to our room on the third floor was nevertheless almost the final straw. It was however a most beautiful walk, our path through beech woods at first strewn with orchids. From up above St Chély, the view extended for many miles South, towards Rodez and perhaps even beyond. Leaving late, I walked alone almost all day, before catching up with Doug, resting by a stream in the woods. It was another day in deepest countryside, 14kms. before our first proper watering hole. Chez Muriel at the hamlet of Grèzes, with its magnificent view, provided, therefore, an extremely welcome assiette. I caught up with other familiar walkers there too: there was much laughter.

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