Caroline has had four weeks here in Midi-Pyrénées while I have been walking the Jakobsweg. (We have been texting each other, apart from an Easter phone conversation.)
Aussat is a scattered hamlet, a few kms. West of the gersois town of Miélan, further South than she was in last year's rented house. The countryside appears noticeably poorer, but undeniably tranquil, unspoiled. Orchids abound, and a nightingale sings in the garden.
Jules and Dave Buckingham have been agreeable landlords, keeping themselves to themselves, but sharing a fish supper one night, Scrabble another. Apart from the first few days, she's been on her own with the dog, walking in the fields down to the lake and sitting weaving out in the garden. Now I've come for two nights to spoil the peace.
Others were walking on, but for me the pilgrimage, begun on 2nd April, has ended. Nor do I think I'll return to Einsiedeln, to do more of the Swiss route and link up with the Voie du Puy. It has been a memorable experience (worthy of a separate book), but I enjoyed my time in Germany more than this last week since leaving Konstanz, and not just because of the change in weather.
Try as I might to plan trains to get me from Einsiedeln to join Caroline in the Gers in one day, without going via Paris I couldn't. So tonight I am spending in Nîmes: my photograph shows an interesting juxtaposition of old and new (taken as I walked round the Roman arena).
I feared we were running late at the start of the first leg of my journey, down from 900 metres to near the shore of Lake Zürich, and that I'd miss my connection. Why did I worry? Swiss trains run like clockwork. And the mist cleared as we passed Lac Léman, so at last there was a clear view of some snowy mountains.
After Geneva, where I resisted buying an English newspaper before going through Customs, I watched the scenery change as we passed Annecy, Aix-les-Bains and Chambéry on our way to Valence's whizzy TGV interchange, one line high above the other. From there it was a short and beautiful final evening leg to Nîmes. From the Alps to the Mediterranean in five instalments.