After a restless night in the tent I woke feeling a bit out of sorts. I think actually after nearly six weeks I am a bit tired. The tent was wet and so it felt heavy on the pack. We were getting away early to reduce walking in the heat which Karen finds difficult, so we were having to hustle. We walked to the boulangerie for breakfast pastries but the bar where we had dined last night was not yet open so no coffee which might have helped!. It was the usual climb out of town to start the day but the track soon turned to tarmac and my feet started to feel it. They were still a bit tender from yesterday’s road walk. Andy and I got ahead and decided to dry the tents in a parking lot. Karen wanted to press on while it was relatively cool so we arranged to meet at the next Chapel. With the tents mostly dried, Andy and I set off in pursuit of the others. Along the track we met up with John, the Californian, but were disturbed to find he was really struggling and finding the official route too hard on his body. He only has 2/3rds of his heart ( after a serious heart attack many years ago), and has developed a sore knee. He was taking the road because it was easier for him.
When we met up with the others at the Chapel I was already in agony. We decided to also take the road to shorten the day slightly.. Now it was me who was struggling. My feet were burning! The small gel pads I had put into my boot were not helping and my left foot was screaming. We detoured into St Felix to a bar. The first thing I did was take off my boots and socks to liberate my feet. Relief! Just sitting down helps. I decided to change my socks for the lighter ones and have a beer and a coffee! John and Wayne were there already. They were saying how hard the last few days were on them both.
Haynaking in the fields.
While we were enjoying our drinks a group of other pilgrims arrived. One German woman was complaining about her feet and then went on to say that all the pilgrims have a problem, be it feet, knees, backs, shoulders or their packs! Jean Michel piped up and said he didn’t have any problems. Everyone in unison laughingly told him he should go home! I chimed in and said we could give him a problem. He of course declined to take on a problem. It was all very merry. As we left I said he might be lucky and find a problem!
My feet had appreciated the change of socks and rest and I motored on without too much trouble after that. We stopped further along for another break and a lone Aussie turned up. We chatted for a while but he moved on and I haven’t seen him since.
We came across an interesting house with a dovecot in the roof. Dovecotes and pigeonieres were quite common in the area in the last few centuries in this area. We also saw the round huts, Cazelles. They were used for shelter by shepherds through the summer.
We arrived in Figeac without knowing much about it. Our first stop was for an ice cream because the Gîtes don’t usually open till 3.00 pm. After that we wound our way through the winding medieval streets to our Gîte Celia. It is the first time we have been on the ground floor! It is quite small and comfy enough. It had the smallest shower I have seen since Spain! No room to dress only shower. We did our usual chores then went off to explore. They had a free exhibition about the history of Figeac which had been a powerhouse of commerce and abbeys during medieval times. About five different orders set up convents and monasteries to minister to pilgrims and the population and at one stage trade with England was strong in linen, wool and wine. At one stage during the 1600s the place was under Protestant control for about 60 years but then the plague and the 100 years war decimated the population. It was an interesting town.
They have a museum of writing. Apparently someone from here cracked the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone and this is a replica in a courtyard beside the museum.
We were all very tired and after bumping into Mary, who was still having phone problems and whose luggage had yet to be delivered, we shared a drink and then went off to dinner at the Gîte. Jean Michel and his friend the Dutchman, Jan, were staying there too. We have bumped into them several times over the last few days. The tall Dutchman has got a bad knee and has had to have his bag shifted for him. He said that their was a photo of me that had gone viral! I was notable for my big packpack and small size. The strong little Aussie woman.
He and his friend Jean Michel were having an amazing adventure and loving meeting so many people and seeing everyone so happy. He said they were finding it life changing.
We chatted for awhile but I was so tired I needed to go to bed and write the blog. Trouble was I kept falling asleep so I eventually gave in and slept! Andy stayed on chatting and seemed to have a great time.