Saturday, July 6th

Just occured that I'll be in France on Bastille Day.
But all my careful packing and perfecting the backpack yesterday may come undone, as it's been drizzling, and looks like it might yet become a shite walking day. So the raincover is at the top now. So much for the careful of drying of everything too.

Still, I had the room to myself after all.

In the dining room, bread with jam, and a coffee to start the day with,

Finally. Followed the instructions to the letter, Turn R, but I should've actually turned L. Whatever, if today had a title it would be, first, Walking through Cows, second Walking through Clouds, and then Walking the Wrong Way (Twice).

Saint Chely d'Aubrac
Been here for some time now, having arrived at about 12. The Gite was full, or so I was told, then told of another down near the entrance to the town. But it was closed, tried a hotel but it was full too, then the 'Hotel de la Vallee' had a room, number 11, 29 euros. Whatever.

It rained, and arrived soaked, the narrow path into town overgrown with wet vegetation slapping whatever it could reach. Have things sprawled around the room, drying.
Slept for about an hour. Made lunch, the remains of yesterday's bread and jam. I suppose pique-niqueing en l'chambre est interdit, but I don't care.

Went walking around the town, has a coffee in one bar. There was an old guy mumbling continuously. French mumbles. Read a magazine, or pretended to. Wandered down by the church, Anthony and Ana are there, at the entrance, readying themselves to move on. Talked a bit. I hope I see them again, but it's kind of unlikely as I'm planning just a few short days. Exchange email addresses, then goodbyes.

Then another coffee. A petit one. Just sat there for as long as I could, not long.

Walked back to the main drag, and the boulongerie I thought would be open is not. Something to do with it being Saturday afternoon. It's open tomorrow though, from 7.

Yes, this is an experience. On the way, in the morning, even whistling as I walked, but not for long. Then the wrong turn at the huge cross, the first time my guidebook has gotten it wrong. Didn't lose much time though, not as much as later, turned right, and walked a fair way up a made road. If not for that, I might have made it here before it rained.

Looked in the church. A statue of Saint Roch and another of Saint Eloy, and in the middle, a scene of JC being taken down from the cross, with lots of guys lending helping hands. Strange, I thought it was just Mary and Salome who did that.

More wanders, and lo and behold, the boulongerie/patisserie/epicerie over the road was open. Food, glorious food. Bought stuff for tonight and tomorrow.

I have the window of the room open, even though it's still drizzling outside. The thick socks and my shoes are attempting to dry. I hope they're successfull.

Things are beter, even if the thick socks are still wet. I'm wandering around in just the thin ones, encased in plastic bags lining the boots, feeling like a slightly upmarket version of Saint John of Gods.

At the same bar as before, the Bar Tabac de la Marie, and the church bells just struck six, and dogs seem to just wander in and out, and they're all spectacularly ugly, even the one cat is ugly. Maybe they just like the place, I know I do.

Back at the park opposite the hotel, the one with the statue with the words

O Marie Refuge des Pécheurs
Ayes pitte de nous

Went to l'eglise, again, sat on the steps, worked out tomorrow, either Saint Colm d'Olt (16kms) or Espalion (22kms), depending on the weather, depending on the socks. Then the sun finally came out, a ray shining right on me. Felt like my plan had been blessed.