Monday, July 22nd

And back on the track. Yahoo!

Finally reached the top of the next hill. Finding the D2 or whatever to Saint Jean, without reclimbing the hill to Lauzerte was genius .. even if I have to say so myself.
And, yes, looking back does afford a great view of Lauzerte, in a kind of "sorry, the gite is cômplete" sort of way.

The "servez-vous" melon stall along the way. Nice. Ate an entire melon.

In the bar/tabac. My first coffee of the day, and bejaysus I need it. Walking through sunflower fields, seeming like uphill after uphill. I'm about due for some serious downhill. There's an epicerie next door, so maybe I should buy food for tonight except I'd have to carry it. The backpack sometimes seems so light, like it's nothing. Other times it's just deadweight and heavy.

The road I have to follow has a "route barre" sign on it. It probably just refers to cars.

Sometimes it would be nice just to blank out, just to mechanically keep walking, to disappear into somewhere else inside my head, but to do so risks missing a balise, some of them are fairly obscure, some faint, and missing one means having to backtrack. I'm still waiting for the change to happen, the enlightenment or whatever it is, the moment when I become a new and different and better person. It hasn't happened yet, except maybe I doubt I'll take anything for granted anymore, and to really appreciate what I do have.

The other end of the Route Barre section seems a good place to stop for a while. Passing signs to the 'Carole-Christophe Mariage' along the way. Sorry, Carole and Christophe, I didn't have time to buy a present.

Just a few tumbleweeds and you'd have the perfect ghost town, apart from children shrieking near the church. Walking along the open road, miles and miles, never felt so much like the Travellin' Dude ..

Arrived, rang C from the first phone box in town. Followed directions to the Abbey, found the Office d'Tourisme, given directions to the gite, around the corner, up the stairs, then left again.

Found the gite, got welcomed, paid, given the guided tour; the showers, the washing room, the shoes room, the Salle Compostelle, finally my room, No 4, the rooms are named, and mine's Moissac.

Showered, washed my stuff, the orange t-shirt so bad it was forming dried salt pools down the front.
Then wanders.

Brugs beer is served with a slice of lemon in it. How very gay. In the Cafe le Flores, in Rue de la Republique, Mossaic.

It won't be two nights here, as originally planned, as I already have tomorrow's gite booked, at Saint Antoine. One of the gite guys walked down to the phone box with me, rang the people, made the booking for me. Easy. It's 27kms, but, yes, I can take my time and enjoy the landscape, thrill to the tingle of every developing blister, enjoy the early morning birdsong, bonjour every Pierre and Pierrette. Stop awhile, take a break, an hour or two if I so choose, snort at the walkers who'll find cômplet gites.

Moissac has elements of loveliness, the historic area, the Place de la Republique with it's overpriced restaurants that charge 2:40 for a gay beer.

Anyway, met an elderly Australian couple. Talked footy. Pity he was a Collingwood supporter, took great pleasure in telling him that Geelong killed 'em a few weeks ago.

Small wanders. Saw a few familiar faces. The two older guys who always seem to be here ahead of everybody else, but never actually seen on the road, just at the destinations. Saw Clementine in the supermarche. Apparently there's guided tours of the cloisters. In French, useless. But I'll go and have a look anyway.

Yep, they're good. World famous, apparently. Paid my 5 euros for the privilege of seeing them, but to be honest I found them just a tad boring. Yes, the carvings on the capitals and columns are great, saints, angels, specific people, tiny details.

But I guess it's much the same as with any art. It's just a sculpture, or just a painting. Hell, the "Mona Lisa" itself took all of 30 seconds to get utterly bored with the first time. Sistine Chapel? I just wanted to lie on the floor, but you're not allowed to, you have to look at with with a pain in your neck. The Botticelli room at the Uffizzi? Next! Michelangelo's Pieta? Well, probably less than the obligatory 30 seconds ..

just at the Monastery gite thing, outside, overlooking Mossaic. The brilliant parts are small, almost overwhelmed by surrounding ugliness. Think I'll just sit and read.