A gorgeous walk today but we are tired after 9 days walking and will have a day off tomorrow. There were some steady climbs even though we are actually descending overall. This morning we left our campsite which was called Bellevue. It had a 180 degree view over the river valley below filled with mist. We feel on top of the world. We are meeting the same few pilgrims now that we have met over the last 9 days so a loose Camino family has formed. It is one of the pleasures of a walk like this.
We arrived at a little quirky gite to find the”Germans”. They are walking and driving with friends and are having a great time. We always find them in cafes or coffee stops! They are enjoying being in nature and will stop at Conques. The gite had a chapel which we found was a bedroom, a toilet that was so low to the ground it must have been a child’s, and a tap that shot straight up which I discovered when I turned it on! They had set out amongst the flowers a little gazebo with tea and coffee and biscuits for pilgrims. It seemed very Byron Bay.
The Germans have visited Australia and loved it and want to return. They lamented that Australia doesn’t have a walk and Gîte system like Europe. I always have to point out the distances but I do think about whether it could be done somewhere. I also said the only saints are a footy team! We have one Saint Mary McKillop but she is new.
We passed through two pretty medieval towns that are neat and well cared for and seem to be thriving. The gardens are full of unusual coloured Irises and other bright coloured flowers, even Rhododendrens and roses.
Finally we make a descent into Conques. It seems like a secret path, like a snuggker’s route because it is a steep descent through a tunnel of green. You can see nothing until you emerge on a steep slope overlooking the famous cathedral. This is another beautiful town that is so well preserved that is like a fairytale place. No cars in the town and rough stone paving. Not stilleto territory! Quite a few tourists but very quiet nonetheless.
We rewarded ourselves with a glorious ice coupe because it was a hot day and we had arrived! Another milestone accomplished.
Then it was a task to find our campsite down by the river. We are in a mobile home, like a caravan in fixtures but a cabin in fact. The reception we received was very warm and hearty. The woman reminded me of Peter’s aunt Sylvia. Once washed and washing done we decided to have a game of table tennis as they have permanent tables set up. I was feeling a bit stiff but hopping about chasing a yellow ball loosened us up. I actually could keep the ball in play and we managed a top rally of 16! We were in hysterics. Pilgrim ping pong. Then dinner and a stroll UP to the town. We stumbled upon a pilgrim’s mass and the singing by the monks was beautiful and brought the cathedral to life. While inside there was a clatter of rain and after the service we were followed back to the campsite by thunder and lightening.