It is Sunday afternoon on the 24th of April and I have arrived in Le Puy, France. The temperature outside is four degrees and as the wind sweeps off the mountains it rips through my windbreaker – so much for windbreakers!
Dear friends Jochen, Catalina and the Prince (Leonardo)! 😊
APRIL 25th – the beginning of a new adventure. Yesterday Jochen and family drove me to Le Puy en Velay. This morning I was up at 6:30 and heading to the cathedral at 6:50 for a service and receipt of my passport. I returned to the Gite de Capucins for breakfast and then calculated my trip. I called ahed and booked a room at a gite in Montbonnet. Then I called to have my humungous back pack picked up to be delivered to my destination for the day, Montbonnet. Surprise, surprise. Too late; it needs to be done the day before. There are only two options: wait until tomorrow to start my walk OR leave with both bags. I opted for the second and walked 12.5 km with a big sucker on my back and the smaller day bag on the front. Took me six hours and this is where my appreciation for my body really Kicked in. It was not easy; I would not choose to do it again but it got done. Tomorrow is another day and I will not be carrying two bags – thank God!
APRIL 26th I want to start with my appreciation: today I truly appreciated the baggage transfer service. It felt fabulous to walk with only my day pack which contained a small bag of first-aid items, a rain cape, a small water bottle (because there are so many fresh water creeks for refilling) and an orange and KitKat bar. I left Montbonnet at 8:15 in the morning and arrived at St. Privat d’Allier two hours later, covering a distance of 12.2 km over a steep climb and then easy walking … From Saint-Privat to Monistrol was much more challenging terrain not unlike the Grouse Grind. For the readers from Vancouver, Imagine going both up and down on the Grind. I congratulated myself with a glass of cold beer upon my arrival in Monistrol – this distance from Saint-Privat was only 7.5 km but took three hours to cover. To my delight and surprise two of the couples that had been at the Montbonnet gite with me were also at the gite in Monistrol. The walk took me through some beautiful country … The green pastures inhabited by herds of grazing cows was lovely – a certain sense of reassurance that the animals were content here, as they should be, rather than penned in as is the general practice in Canada?
Wednesday, 27th of April. The day started when I walked outdoors and filled my lungs with the most delicious cool, fresh air. So my appreciation during the whole day was so the fresh, clean air that I was breathing! I left Monistrol d’Allier at 8:30 in the morning. It was an arduous climb from the valley at 606 metres to a height of 1090 metres over a distance of 10 kilometres. I am trying to remember when I last had such a work-out. During my walk I ran into a woman, Sabine, from Valence but Austrian, born in Vienna. We had been at the same gite in Montbonnet. She was walking with a young gal from the Czech Republic, by the name of Carolin. The three of us walked together for a stretch … Sabine wanted to rest so Carolin and I continued for a stretch and then I arrived at my destination, La Clauze and she continued on. It was 15:00;the sun was shining brightly so I sat in the garden of my gite and contemplated how the day had gone.
Thursday, day four and I have to say that I truly appreciate myself and I have made a real effort to stay focused on appreciating myself. The day started at seven with breakfast and a departure at eight. There were two other guests at the gite and the three of us walked 24 kilometres to the next stop. We arrived at St. Alban au Ligmanole at four o’clock. The weather has been particularly generous. I have encountered a scattering of snow flurries,bitter winds but generally bright sunshine – both inside and out😎