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Leaving Le Puy on Aug 16 - say "hello" if you see me

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
This year I plan to walk for 7 days only, starting in le Puy on August 16. Next year I want to finish the camino to SJPDP.

Actually I will be in Le Puy the day before to get organised. I will be arriving after other travel in Poland and Slovakia/ Czech Republic, so I need time to get organised - basically packing my little 11litre daypack, getting oriented with my guidebook (which I have not bought yet) :?

I will leave all my other gear in Le Puy and collect it at the end of the 7 days.

So, if you see a short, lost pilgrim with a scruffy beard, wearing a small black MacPack with the pilgrim's scallop shell and flourishing a walking pole, don't hurry past this harmless eccentric in trepidation :cry: .

Say "G'day!" and you will be rewarded with either homilies, or philosophical discourse, or frivolous conversation as you please in either English (like a nightingale) or excreble French (like a raven).

Bob M
This is how I looked 100km from Santiago:
 

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ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Hello!
I am leaving Le Puy on August 15. I guess you are a faster walker than me, so say hello if you pass an old Norwegian peregrina who will be one her way to Santiago.
ranthr
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
I may be starting my Camino much earlier now. I can't wait to start, so I have rearranged my other plans so I can walk for a few extra days. I still need to figure out the best end point for easy return to le Puy to collect my left baggage. I don't have a guidebook, which makes things harder to plan.

At the moment I am in Finland and will be making my way to le Puy via Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, then straight to le puy by bus or train.

My actual arrival date is still uncertain. Anyway, I will post updates as travel allows, as I would like to say hello to others who might read this.

Best wishes to ranthr. Last camino, I met some wonderful and memorable pilgrims from Denmark and Sweden. No one from Norway, alas :( .

Bob M
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi bob, if you go onto the http://www.chemindecompostelle.com website and look under Herbergements et services, you will get maps and accommodations and can see where the towns are with train stations. There are also 2 luggage and people carriers, one is Transbagages, the other something like Factage, who deliver people back to Le Puy. From Estaing to Le Puy it cost around 46 Euro per person and pack I am told. Transbagages did not reply to email, but Factage did. You find both on that website somewhere. The taxi options are very expensive, so don't bother unless you are financially flush, i.e. 250 Euro from Estaing to Le Puy, my friend was quoted!
Hope this helps, cheers, Gitti
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Re: Leaving Le Puy on Aug 16 - say "hello" if you see me.

Well done, Gitti :D That info is just what I needed. Hopefully I will find a convenient train, but Factage would also work. I better start getting organised. Minimalist packs are one thing, minimalist planning is quite another.

Regards

Bob M
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Great to be of help, I see that Lalbanque, Figeac, Cahors and Moissac are just a few examples of places with railway stations, I am sure you will get back from somewhere convenient, you can also use Factage or Transbagages for short sections, so they would get you to a train station from a nearby place. I don't think you need to worry about organising anything now. They run daily services, so just wait until you are on the track and it will fall into place. The gite owners will have all the info and phone for you I am sure. Ciao, Gitti
I tried to add a list of distances on the Le Puy Route from the Godesalco.com website, but would not allow the upload, sorry.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Well, I hope to arrive in Le Puy late on August 11 and will start walking on August 13. I don't want to pre-book a place in Le Puy to stay yet, because my flight to Paris may be delayed and prevent me from arriving on Aug 11.

Can anyone suggest a good place to stay in Le Puy for a late evening arrival?

Regards

Bob M
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Under 55 Euro per night according to the Office de Tourisme:

L'Ermitage ***
73, avenue de l'Ermitage
43000 Espaly-St-Marcel
Tél. 04 71 07 05 05
http://www.hotellhermitage.com

Le Régina ***
34, boulevard Maréchal Fayolle
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 04 71 09 14 71
http://www.hotelrestregina.com

Appart'Hôtel des Capucins **
29, rue des Capucins
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 04 71 04 28 74
http://www.le-puy.de - http://www.lescapucins.net

Bristol **
7 et 9, avenue Foch
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 04 71 09 13 38
http://www.hotelbristol-lepuy.com

Brivas **
2, avenue Charles Massot
43750 Vals-Près-Le-Puy
Tél. 04 71 05 68 66
http://www.hotel-le-brivas.com

Deltour Hôtel **
4, rue de Genebret
43700 Brives-Charensac
Tél. 04 71 05 92 23
http://www.deltourhotel.com

Dyke Hôtel **
37, boulevard Maréchal Fayolle
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 04 71 09 05 30
http://www.dykehotel.fr

Hôtel Le Val Vert **
6, avenue Batiste Marcet
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél : 04 71 09 09 30
http://www.hotelvalvert.com

Le Bilboquet **
52, faubourg Saint-Jean
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 04 71 09 74 24
lebilboquet@club-internet.fr

Saint-Jacques **
7, place Cadelade
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 04 71 07 20 40
http://www.hotel-saint-jacques.com

Etap Hôtel *
25, avenue Charles Dupuy
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 0 892 68 04 79 ou 04 71 02 83 41

Le Régional *
36, boulevard Maréchal Fayolle
43000 Le Puy-en-Velay
Tél. 04 71 09 37 74

Les Orgues d'Espaly *
53, avenue de la Bernarde (D590)
43000 Espaly-St-Marcel
Tél. 04 71 04 98 75
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Thx for taking the trouble to provide such a big list. I am obliged to you :D

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Well, at last I have arrived in Le Puy :D Today (Aug 12) is a planning day for me :?

I start tomorrow, after Mass at the cathedral and will finish at Figeac on August 22

Hopefully, I will meet someone from this forum on the way.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
MermaidLilli said:
Where did you stay in LePuy Bob? How much?
Lillian

I arrived late and stayed at the first hotel with a vacancy. The Accor Hotel (it had a different name I think, but was part of the Accor Group). Cost was about 70 Euro/night.

I am now in St Chely d,Aubrac. The first two days out of Le Puy were hard.

Bob M
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
We are walking Le Puy to St. J next July/Aug.
Not going further than St. Jean Pied de Port as we have in the last 2 yrs done Franses and Portuguese Caminos.

Could you give some indication on the accommodation during these months.
We have been told these months are not as popular as May or Sept and being hot most people are near the

We depart Melbourne in mid June, see relatives in West Sussex and Inverness and then head to France in late June.

We intend to take our time and really enjoy the scenery.
Everybody we have met that have been with us on Camino's Frances and Portuguese have "raved " about Le Puy to the boarder in regardness to quietness, scenery , villages and peace so we will take a month at least.Not in a hurry.
Hope all is going well and keep on the water.
D
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Thornley said:
We are walking Le Puy to St. J next July/Aug.
Not going further than St. Jean Pied de Port. Could you give some indication on the accommodation during these months. We have been told these months are not as popular as May or Sept and being hot.D

I have finished my section of the chemin for the year. Stopped at Conques after 9 days due to need to come home. I could have walked forever at that stage.

Accomodation was not a problem when I walked. I always booked the next night (with great reluctance, because I hate having to commit to one place in advance when my fitness or desires might make me prefer another place to stay). Lots of people did not book ahead, and had no problems. In a few of the smaller villages, I was the only one in the gite at night. Try to stop at Le Repos d"Antan at La Clause(?). It was probably the best place I stayed at. Sonia is a very kind person and a great cook :D.

One of the problems on the le Puy - Conques section is that accomodation is not always conveniently located for my 25 km/day preference. Some days might have to be maybe 30 km, followed by say a 15 km day, which is inconvenient. Some pilgrims carry a tent for this reason, but I could not justify the extra 4 kg or so for camping gear.

This section has a lot of ups and downs, including a monster on the second day out of Le Puy, so stages are shorter than I was used to in Spain.

I carried the absolute minimum gear, maybe 4kg incl food. In summer that is very feasible because you don't need a sleeping bag, just a silk liner, and you don't need cold weather gear, just a light fleece in case the higher places are cold. In fact, nights on the Aubrac plateau were surprisingly cool, even in mid-August. But I did not need the fleece.

Many people carried 12kg packs, even more, but they may have been radonneurs doing only a few stages.

BTW, be careful leaving Estaing. Many pilgrims took the wrong route, which leads to the GR6 (not the GR 65 that follows most of the chemin de compostelle. There are two places for error: one leaving Estaing that the guidebooks warn about, and another about 4 km beyond Estaing that I took. My planned stop that night was Golinhac, so I continued past Compuac via the D20 to Golinhac - about 30km that day, instead of 27! I will definitely take the detailed topo maps next time.

The Miam Miam Dodo guide is adequate re maps, but it has no topo detail, and, more importantly, no elevation charts to allow you to assess the difficulty of a day's walk. However, it is good for accomodation.

BTW, the red/white route markers are good for the GR65, but the yellow chemin de compostelle markers are occasionally confusing. In fact that is why I took the wrong way to Golinhac.

Anyway, I will post more details when I get home.

Regards

Bob M
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
BTW, the red/white route markers are good for the GR65, but the yellow chemin de compostelle markers are occasionally confusing. In fact that is why I took the wrong way to Golinhac.
The yellow markers are usually regional trails in France, so you generally should ignore them! Follow the GR red and white (and the escargot shortcut!). Maps always are handy in France, too.
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Thanks BobM,
I am planning to start walking the Le Puy to SJPP route early next year and find this thread really useful. There is nothing like info 'hot off the route' , and its the combination of both live 'reportage' and thoughtful post walk analysis that make this such an interesting forum.
I wonder Bob if you were to walk this section again what,if any, changes would you make from the first time?
Nell
Bonne route
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
nellpilgrim said:
I wonder Bob if you were to walk this section again what,if any, changes would you make from the first time? Nell

I was hoping to get to Figeac in 10 days, but short stages/summer heat meant I got to Conques in 9 days, and went to Figeac by Factage (mini-bus, 19 Euros) on day 10 to catch my train to Paris. Figeac in 10 days is doable with careful planning of your stages, although 11 or 12 days is more usual and relaxing - assuming you are not like a frantic walker I met who claimed to be regularly walking 30/day on this sector. In the event, Conques, with its awesome setting and wonderful abbey is a better ending for a pilgrimage than Figeac. But Figeac has train connections, which makes it more convenient than Conques. The Factage transfer Conques/Figeac is fairly cheap and takes about 4 hours (there are lots of stops to drop off and pickup bags).

I did not like the maps in the Miam Miam Dodo guide, especially the lack of elevation charts. If you want to carry two guides buy the GR65 topo guide as well (although it is heavy and is overloaded with pics). Having decent elevation charts is very useful in planning a day's walk, especially if you want to get to Figeac in 10 days. There are lots of ups and downs on this sector.

A better alternative is to buy one of the excellent French guides, such as:

Le Chemin de St-Jacques du Velay aux Pyrénées, by J-P Siréjol & Louis Laborde-Balen, Rando Editions/FFRP. Route description and historical material with details of accommodation and services. Of course, you will need to read French. I will buy this guide next year, and rely on the excellent free booklet of accomodation given out by the Tourist Office at Le Puy.

BTW, if you don't speak French, take the time to learn a little. It just smooths life out, and people appreciate your efforts. Even if it is only a few standard phrases for ordering food and making accomodation bookings.

I hope this is useful. I will be posting more details later.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
falcon269 said:
The yellow markers are usually regional trails in France, so you generally should ignore them! Follow the GR red and white (and the escargot shortcut!). Maps always are handy in France, too.

There are often lots of route markers for local events, in a rainbow of colours, so vigilance is definitely required.

However, I particularly wanted to follow the pilgrmgage route (at least the modern version of many routes over the centuries) rather than the GR65 with a lot of highway sections. Some of the equivalent pilgrim routes follow paths in the forests close to the road and are certainly more tranquil (assuming you don't get lost). The GR65 is probably easier in that it follows roads with gentler gradients. The off-road sections of the traditional pilgrimage routes are often rockier and steeper.

BTW, the Miam Miam Dodo maps do generally guide you via the pilgrimage routes, and errors are unlikely if you are vigilant in places like Estaing. However, I would certainly advise taking a good map as well, such as the topo guides (which even show wayside pilgrim crosses).

Bob M
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Merci Bob vous etes tre gentil, and this is great information and advice. I will certainly be taking it 'doucement'!. One of the reasons I am tackling this route in sections, rather than as a 'one off', is that I want to take time to savour the journey and to be able to detour to see see anything that interests me off route.
Many thanks
Nell
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
nellpilgrim said:
Merci Bob vous etes tre gentil, and this is great information and advice. I will certainly be taking it 'doucement'!. One of the reasons I am tackling this route in sections, rather than as a 'one off', is that I want to take time to savour the journey and to be able to detour to see see anything that interests me off route.
Many thanks
Nell

De rien. Nell makes some good points that I would like to enlarge on.

Take time to savour the journey: If your pack is too heavy, if you have injuries, if you are worried about getting a bed/food/companions, then you will naturally focus more on those things and less on many other important physical/spiritual things.

I had no injuries and my pack was very light, but it still took me 3 days to establish a routine for each day and to "get into the pilgrimage" so that I was able to focus on the sights and sounds around me and to reflect on them, rather than focus inwardly on what I might call the day's administration.

I saw many people with large packs. Sure, they may be able to carry them for days on end, but at what cost in terms of mental distraction? What we carry in our packs also reflects who we are in a deeper sense: How we regard security and risk, how we regard comfort. This worth keeping in mind as we choose items to pack, because we can gain insights into ourselves by the decisions we make at that point.

It is important to start doucement and not to rush, or feel pressure to keep up with companions. Each day takes its small physical and mental toll and, over several weeks, that toll can accumulate. Lentement, mais surement.

It is normal to feel tired at the end of each day, but one should wake next day physically refreshed and mentally motivated (unless it is raining). If not, then maybe a shorter stage or a rest day is called for. Or a re-evaluation of the pack contents.

One of the advantages of short stages and pre-booked accomodation is that it eliminates time pressure, so that you can savour things along the way.

The Miam Miam Dodo guide has nothing on points of interest, and that was a disappointment for me. One can certainly enjoy churches, wayside crosses etc for what they are, but background information adds another dimension to the journey.

Anyway, I hope these notes are useful.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Rather than posting a magnum opus on my chemin de St Jacques, I thought it would be quicker to post notes as they occur to me, in no particular order.

Rehydration: I walked in the heat of August, when the temperature was often about 30 degrees C. One or two days it was well over 35 degrees C. I sweated copiously in these conditions, so it was important to replace electrolytes to avoid cramps and other problems.

One can buy commercial products (Gatorade, Staminade etc), but they are expensive. Before I left home, I made a supply for myself (8 tspn sugar, 1 tspn salt per liter).

There are heaps of references on the internet for making ORS ( eg http://rehydrate.org/solutions/homemade.htm). Most relate to diarhoea, but the principles are the same. Each morning when I filled my water bottles, I added the ORS. In Australia you can buy "low sodium" salt from the major supermarkets that contains potassium as well as sodium. It is the potassium that is important. Dried apricots are another good source of potassium, and make good snacks on the road.

Mobile Phone: I bought a SIM card for the SFR network and loaded it with 25 Euros (calls charged at 55cents/minute). The Orange network is a better choice, because the SFR network coverage is poor in some areas, eg around St Albans. I was able to use the phone in the Tourist Information offices in such cases. 25 Euros was ample for the 10 days. On some days I had to make 5 or 6 calls to book a bed. Sometimes a gite was complet, at other times there were only recorded messages.

That's enough for now. More later.


Bob M
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Bob, thanks for all the info., very appreciated.
We live in Sorrento and would love to have a chat on your return.
can be contacted on ;
davidcarey36@hotmail.com

We intend to commence in early July and incorporate August.
We have over the yrs and Caminos downsized from 55 l to 45 l and found no problems.
We will not hurry mate as we adore the french country side and its people.
We have allowed 5 weeks to get to St. J Pied de Port.
Again would love a chat when home,
Keep well
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I have just been informed its 6 weeks we have allowed.
Feeling better already :D
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
More random notes!

Final Preparations at Le Puy: I did virtually no planning before arriving at Le Puy and allowed one full day for final preparations, including buying a guide book and planning my first few days. That was a bit stressful, and not recommended :? There is a lot to do in one day: (1) organise transport of unwanted stuff to your final destination, (2) decide and book final the destination, (3) get a phone SIM card, (4) get enough cash etc etc. This was an experiment for me, because usually I plan to the nth degree. But as with the very light pack, I wanted to test the comfort zone a little this time.

How to avoid a sopping wet pack?: Walking on hot days, the back of my pack and the contents in immediate contact with it became sopping wet with sweat. Most items were wrapped in plastic, so no dramas there. But my notebook was not, so now I have a notebook redolent and stained with dried sweat as a perpetual reminder of my exertions! The pack needed some sort of spacer to keep it just off the back and allow air to circulate. Does anyone know of such a product?

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Looking down the steep steps of the cathedral at Le Puy before the 7 am Mass for Pilgrims, the way seems dark, the future uncertain. But, in the distance, the light of dawn shows us the way and gives us hope that our steps will be sure and that our hearts and minds will be clear.

I am the Way, the Truth and the Light

Bob M
 

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KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
BobM said:
How to avoid a sopping wet pack?: Walking on hot days, the back of my pack and the contents in immediate contact with it became sopping wet with sweat..... The pack needed some sort of spacer to keep it just off the back and allow air to circulate. Does anyone know of such a product?
Bob M

Bob, some packs come with such a backing. I had a Deuter Aircontact Pack that helped whisk away the sweat, and allow airflow, as shown here. http://www.deuter.com/en/Aircontact-PRO-System.php
Margaret
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
re sweaty packs
Lowe Alpine Air Zone Centro packs are great as they allow a flow of air between your back and the pack which keeps your pack sweat free and you comfortable. This format is also good in high winds as it allows the wind to pass between you and the pack so you don't get too much buffeting. Their only downside is that in very cold weather your back is not kept as warm as it would be by a contact pack- so you have to make sure you have adequate clothing.
They have male and female packs and a range of sizes.
Nell
Bonne route
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Much obliged to Margaret and Nell re the packs. That's very helpful. My little 11-litre pack was very unsophisticated, really only suitable as a day pack for urban/tourist use.

But next year I plan to walk in July/August again, so something small, but a bit more sophisticated is required.

Bob M
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
By the way Bob, I love your photo. It is a 'starting scene' familiar to all of us who have begun in Le Puy. And I remember well the mixture of exhilaration and fear that I felt as I stood there and 'began'!
Margaret
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Another beautiful time for me was the simple ceremony after the Mass. About 40 Pilgrims gathered round the statue of St James. The Bishop spoke informally with us, in a very human and friendly way, not making ex cathedra pronouncements, simply asking where we came from and making kind remarks.

There was a sense of fellowship among us, a bond between people setting out on a common enterprise.

Bob M
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Yes, it was a special moment for me as well. I was the only English-speaker there that morning, and he switched to English for me and chatted about New Zealand. I am a very lapsed Catholic, but I felt as though I walked under the protection of that blessing all the way to Santiago.
Margaret
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Thanks Bob and Margaret, For some reason (maybe because it looks steeper than Everest!) the photo of the path up to the Cathedral made my stomach clench and my mouth dry. However reading your following reminiscences provided an immediate antidote of reassurance, optimism and excitement to combat that initial anxiety (perhaps I should get them printed of and laminated as I may need to reference them again over the coming months?).
Being so disarmingly open about your less successful approaches Bob-and sharing the learnings you made from them is very generous. And by being allowed to 'stand on the shoulders' of your experience, and Margaret's, there is one 'would be Le Puyite' who will plan and travel with a little more confidence.
Thank you both.
Nell


Bonne route
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
nellpilgrim said:
Being so disarmingly open about your less successful approaches Bob-and sharing the learnings you made from them is very generous. And by being allowed to 'stand on the shoulders' of your experience, and Margaret's, there is one 'would be Le Puyite' who will plan and travel with a little more confidence.

It's my pleasure to share these experiences with other Pilgrims. Hopefully some will be useful to others embarking on the grand journey for the first time, and perhaps even the "old timers" will enjoy being reminded of their own journeys.

Here is today's pic:


Early light shines on the statue just outside Le Puy. A few pilgrims take a reflective break before moving on.

Bob M
 

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MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Bob, these posts really are much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to keep us posted on your progress, the events of your travels, and your thoughts and pictures.

Bon Chemin,

Michael
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
I hope to post something about each of the 9 days I walked. Hopefully it will be little idiosyncratic and not too formulaic.

Soon I will also have some pics uploaded to Google Maps so people can relate them to the route - and also see how useful Google Maps is. I am an amateur, but I have seen some truly impressive work by experts on Google Maps.

Another random note:

Sandals - recommended or not?: Originally, I planned to wear sandals, not shoes, as another way of getting closer to how the pilgrims of bygone ages may have walked. But I decided not to, since I need arch support and none of the sandals I tried had good enough arch support. Teva were the best, but the support was very hard and may (or may not!) have caused blisters after long hot days of walking.

In the event, I saw many walkers in sandals on this route, but care is required - especially if one has any history of ankle problems. Quite a few of the paths are steep and stony and loose underfoot. I saw one person whose toes protruded quite a bit over the front of the sandals going downhill. That struck me as an invitation to stubbed toes and torn nails.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
August 13 - Beginning

I found a good patch of shade under a tree to have lunch and rest from the sun. As I was eating my baguette and cheese, two radonneurs joined me for their meal of bread, cheese and sausage. Then came a lady who had already walked from Geneva. She sat down and brought out a plastic box of salad and fruit for lunch. We chatted and shared our food, greeting other pilgrims trudging by and offering them the occasional apricot.

Around us, summer was at its height, with the fields harvested and safely home. "Harvest Home" does not mean much to us today, but a couple of centuries ago it was a period of hard work and anxiety - and, at the end, celebration. If the annual harvest failed due to weather, pestilence or war the result was famine and death.

Here is today's pic:
 

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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
August 14 Kindness

Today I stayed the night at Au Repos d'Antan, La Clauze. La Clauze is only a small hamlet with no shops, so most people would probably walk on, or stay at Saugues instead. But I prefer to stay in places like La Clauze for their greater tranquillity and fewer people.

The gite is small, but beautifully and thoughtfully arranged and decorated. There are some houses nearby, but you have the feeling of being in the open country. You can sit outside in the sun and look over the beautiful French countryside.

I was the only person in the gite that night, and Sonia Vidal had left a welcome note for me asking me to "installez-vous". This did not mean I should nail myself to the wall, simply that I should make myself at home until she arrived to cook the evening meal.

She did not want me to eat alone, so she brought along her 14-year old son to have dinner with me as she cooked. They were both extremely kind and hospitable to me, a total stranger - a "customer" in fact - whom they would never see again. We chatted very aimiably, almost en famille.

Her family are farmers. Much of the food I ate that night and for breakfast next morning came from their farm. They both took pride in pointing this out to me.

I am just one of many people to pass briefly through their lives, so perhaps I will soon fade from their memories. But I will always treasure the time I spent with them, and the pleasure of sharing a simple meal with good people.

Today's pic:



I have started to upload my pics to the web, so you can see more of them at:
Google Maps reference http://picasaweb.google.com.au/bob.m.me ... ToConques#
 

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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
August 15 - Exploring

The normal Miam Miam Dodo route from Chazeaux is via Le Sauvage, then back to the D987 highway. However, about 2 km south of Chazeaux there is another choice. One can take a short waymarked route that is not used much, but passes through forest, enclosed fields and over steams. I wanted to take this route, but the Miam Miam Dodo map 8 was useless for such detailed navigation. Fortunately, a Canadian couple arrived with the good GR65 topo maps and we walked this variation together.

The waymarks are OK, but care is needed to avoid going astray in one or two places. Apart from being very tranquil away from the road, it was nice to explore one of the lesser-used variations on the pilgrim route.

Random note: "Miam Miam Dodo" is baby-talk that could be roughly translated into English baby-talk as "yummy yummy beddy-byes." "Miam" has the same sound as "yum", and "dodo" comes from "dormir" = to sleep. Since the guide is all about eating and sleeping, this makes perfect sense.

Today's pic is another composite:
 

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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Aug 16 Brocante

Today I walked 21 km to Lasbros, a small hamlet about 6 km beyond the larger town of Aumont-Aubrac. Many people might have preferred to stay in Aumont-Aubrac for the atmosphere and excitement. The whole town was taken over by a big brocante and most of the streets were blocked to vehicles.

The brocantes of high summer were common in many of the towns I passed through from Le Puy to Conques. There were street stalls piled with fantastic local foods and produce, antiques(?), bric-a-brac. There was the excited tumult of street performers, music, crowds, pilgrims, families en vacance. Voila!

Very exciting, why not stop here? No, M and Mme Hernandez awaited me at their gite in Lasbros, so I trudged on in the burning heat. This was another excellent place to stay, only one other pilgrim, and very hospitable hosts.

Random note: The roads were often lined with blackberry bushes and the sweet little fruit were ripening to their peak. I often stopped and ate these luscious treats. Once I even passed a little section of wild raspberries and enjoyed them as well. There were also plum trees, pear trees, apple trees and big, shady chestnut trees along the way, but none of the fruit was ripe.

Today's pic features some of the various types of crosses that pilgrims commonly see along the way. New crosses are still being built. Every one must tell its own story, and maybe some of the better guidebooks give more background on them.
 

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nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Hi Bob, Enjoying reading these and the photographs are lovely.
Thanks again
Nell
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
nellpilgrim said:
Hi Bob, Enjoying reading these and the photographs are lovely.
Thanks again
Nell

It's my pleasure to share this stuff, Nell. I will continue each day until I reached Conques.

I am uploading more pics to Google Maps each day. See http://picasaweb.google.com.au/lh/album ... 445617#map

The pics are small and low resolution to optimise download speeds for viewers, so you don't really get the impact of a full-screen pic. If anyone wants to see bigger pics, just send me a private message.

One more thing: If you zoom into the map really closely, the locations are not always ultra-precise. It takes a lot of work to figure out exactly where a pic was taken and then to plot it exactly on the map.

Bob M
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
I am enjoying this too Bob. Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories, and for sharing so much of what walking on this route meant to you.
And I know about the Google map thingie...... hard to track down the very rural route a lot of this chemin is on!
Margaret
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
August 17 Suffering

After several days on the road, injuries started to appear among my fellow pilgrims.

Severe blisters, some infected, afflicted several people at the gite in Nasbinals. Another had various joint and tendon problems that stopped her walking any further. All these people had to deal with physical pain and the knowledge that their journey was over, at least for now. Such people have no choice, other than to stop.

Many other pilgrims may also feel that they cannot continue; yet they do, far from friends and the comforts of home. Our journey is not always easy, the discomforts are many, and our destination lies far in the future.

But we endure these trials in the belief that they will end at last, and we will emerge stronger for having confronted our fears and uncertainties. I saw such people, especially a young French woman whose character and inner strength will always remain with me. Pilgrimage allows us to confront and triumph over adversity.

People who have survived terrible ordeals alone and against all odds often report the unseen presence of another person who gave them strength to survive. Such presences were sometimes so real that they spoke to each other. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Man_phenomenon)

May the strength of former pilgrims be a constant guide to all of you who, with a hopeful heart, step into the unknown on the great journey to Santiago, in the footsteps of so many others. We are with you when you need us.

we may also draw inspiration from people like Louis Dalle, who endured greater torments than we will face and triumphed over them. If you pass his memorial near Finieyrols, stop and reflect for a moment on his life.

Today's pic is in remembrance of Louis Dalle.
 

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BobM

Veteran Member
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Aug 18 Mortification of the Flesh

Today was only a short walk (17km) from Nasbinals to St Chely. The next accomodation was in St Come, another 16 km. I did not want to do a 33 km stage, so I opted for a short day to St Chely.

The walk was wonderful, across the starkly beautiful Aubrac plateau, past grey stone farmhouses, long stone fences and the huge sky of such places.

At St Chely, I lay under the pilgrim bridge in the cool shade until the gite communal opened, with the soft sounds of water slipping over stones in the little stream.

That night I had a small room with 2 others in the gite communal, but the snoring was so unbearable that I took my mattress into the kitchen and slept on the floor, near the fireplace. That proved a boon to all the bedbugs hiding in nooks and crannies and they feasted gluttonously on me during the night.

Today's pic is something quite different - a collage of several images from the Aug 18 stage. After some days walking, especially through countryside away from towns and roads, scenes sometimes blur in our memories when we try to recollect a particular day on returning home. I wanted to create an effect of memories piled on memories with this pic. It works better in a big size, but hopefully the small size will be OK.
 

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BobM

Veteran Member
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August 19 Singing

The first singer: I was talking with another pilgrim about how beautiful some of the walking paths were. She confessed to being so happy in some places that she burst into song - but looked around in alarm in case someone else was listening.

Another singer: The performer at the Espalion brocante sang along with an organ, with the music played by the folding punched cards you can see on the right of the photo below. The words (more like sounds) were very staccato and clipped, and very exhilarating. The crowd of strollers and diners loved it. Maybe it was local folk music that everyone knew and loved.

Choir practice: I could hear soft, lilting singing coming from the church in St Come as I stopped for a rest, so I quietly stepped inside. Several singers were grouped around a music stand practicing, completeley absorbed in their music. I sat alone at the back of the church, the age-old music seeped into me and the noise and activity of the street outside fell away. After some moments, I resumed my journey, greatly refreshed.

Many singers: The singing of congregations in the Churches during services was often very gentle, almost ethereal, with a slow lilting cadence that was extremely beautiful. Quite different from the style of singing in English churches. Perhaps it is the effect of the French language - or maybe different styles and traditions of church singing arise in different countries.

Random Note: Herve and Betty Brouzes have an impromptu refreshment stand with drinks and biscuits at L'Estrade. It works on an honour system and reminded me of a similar place on the Camino Frances. While I was there they both came to chat and top up supplies. They are such nice people I stayed longer than I intended and left wonderfully uplifted. They have a big folder with postcards from many places, sent by others who also loved this place as much as I did.
 

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nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Lovely postings about the singing Bob, and I hate to bring the tone down with my next question but....what about the bed bugs were they only in St Chely or where the little blighters elsewhere?
Nell
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
nellpilgrim said:
Lovely postings about the singing Bob, and I hate to bring the tone down with my next question but....what about the bed bugs was they only in St Chely or where the little blighters elsewhere?
Nell

Only at St Chely.

When I got to the gite communal at Espalion, I mentioned them to the lady in charge ("Sylvie the Boss", as she signed my credencial).

She gasped in alarm and insisted that I empty my pack completely and unwrap and shake everything to make sure I brought no stowaways. Given my miniscule pack, this took a nanosecond.

It was all done with great good humour, but Sylvie the Boss was taking no chances!

Bob M
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
BobM said:
August 19 Singing
The first singer: I was talking with another pilgrim about how beautiful some of the walking paths were. She confessed to being so happy in some places that she burst into song - but looked around in alarm in case someone else was listening.

Bob....... this woman sounds just like me!!! I used to look all around before I ever began to sing!!!! Strangely enough, one of my resolutions for 'next time' is to just sing and enjoy it and not worry about who might be listening!!!!

Nell, the only place I ever really heard about having bedbugs on the Le Puy route was the gite communal at Lauzerte. Apparently there is a longstanding problem there that they haven't tried to fix..... Or that was the case 12 months ago anyhow.
Margaret
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
I don't sing myself, but sometimes I throw my arms in the air an give a couple of yells! :D

On the Camino Frances, I met a number of singers. One group of four men included an ex-legionnaire, who sang the most wonderful legionnaire marching songs and induced his companions to join in the choruses.

I walked with them for quite a way. Actually, we marched rather than walked and lost ourselves in the cadence and imagery of the music and in solidarity with our companions. The kilometres flew by.

Let's all sing! Wouldn't it be wonderful if pilgrims could sing together after dinner? Maybe someone has such an experience. I would love to hear it.

Bob M
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Re Bed bugs
Thanks Bob and Margaret, I don't mind the biting/itching bit so much but I got a nasty little fever for a day or two after being bitten a few years ago, and that could be a nuisance when walking a short stretch of 5-10 days.
They are interesting little creatures though I read that a bed bugs 'Menu pour vie' is dictated by the blood type of a BB nymphs first victim.Bob you may has started a trend for your blood type in next generation of BBs at St Chely you should be.....proud?
Re Singing
When walking to Fisterra we met a pair of Spanish teachers who walked together for years 'doing the Caminos'. We noted that they walked together talking but when singing each would be by themselves. When asked they told us that when one or the other wanted a bit of solitude that person started to sing and this was a sign for the other to slow down or speed up to just within earshot (these guys had big voices and a repetoire of rousing country songs so that could be quite a way) thus giving his partner 'space'. When the singing stopped they slowly got back to walking apace again.
I don't know why they didn't just ask each other but their singing system certainly added to our litany of camino joys. So don't look around Margaret just sing out!
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
I don't want to divert too much from Bob's lovely Le Puy recount here....but there was one night on the Le Puy route where three of us really got into some singing. I was in a gite in Condom with a couple from Quebec who had become my friends. We thought everyone else had gone out.... and there was a computer with internet in the lounge ( a rare event on the Le Puy route.) We started talking about the words for "Ultreia" and "Climb every Mountain".... and started doing some internet searches for the lyrics, and then we three all sang lustily. Then a group of French ladies arrived home, and joined in with gusto. It was such fun! The next day we discovered a French couple had been upstairs, but we were happy to discover they had very much enjoyed our wee concert!
Margaret
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
The St Chely bug bites certainly itched for some days, but not excruciatingly so. But I can still see faint red marks where these little beasties dined. I think sleeping on the floor was the big mistake.

My biggest concern was bringing eggs home, so at Figeac I did a thorough search of every item before putting stuff into the luggage that had been sent on from Le Puy. Back home I even tossed the pack into the washing machine.

I loved the singing stories. Singing is probably more common than we realise.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
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August 20 Pride Cometh Before a Fall

The walk along the River Lot was very serene, the villages beautiful. I was fit and strong and filled with pride and self-satisfaction that there was only one more day to go and I had done the job I set out to do. (before it was actually done). YES!

Such narcissistic self-congratulation deserved a rebuke, and one was delivered: Today was the day I took the wrong path. I have given the details in a much earlier post to help others avoid the same error, so I won't repeat them here.

The church bell-tower was near my window at Golinhac. I left it open for the breeze and went to bed about 9:30.

Some time later... BONG! BONG! etc (ten times?). That woke me with a start.

Silence. I composed myself for sleep again.

Then BONG! BONG! etc (ten times). OK, so now the whole village knows for sure it is 10 o'clock.

I dreaded the arrival of 11 pm and midnight, but there was no more ringing that night. Someone told me next day that ringing after 10 pm is not allowed. Double ringing during the day was quite common in a number of places.

Today's pic shows a few more scenes from today, plus a little friend from St Chely.
 

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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
August 21 The End of the Beginning

I stayed at the Abbey St Foy for my last night. This was a very busy place, with about 100 pilgrims per night staying there.

There were about 4 volunteers showing arrivals to their bunks, and also serving at table during meals. Several had already walked the Le Puy - St Jean Pied de Port route as pilgrims, and volunteering here was their way of giving something back.

That impressed me, so I offered to help in the kitchen myself after breakfast the next morning. But they would have none of it.

Conques is a wonderful place to end a pilgrimage, or to have a rest day. Physically, I thought it was the most attractive town of the whole route, Beautiful stone buildings, perched on the side of a valley, stone streets, and the sprawling St Foy Abbey.

Spiritually, the whole atmosphere of the abbey was conduicive to pilgrimage and to breaking a long journey. There was the conviviality of meals in the big refectory, among kindred spirits who shared the bond of an arduous journey.

At Evensong that night I was corralled to read part of the service in English, in partnership with a fellow pilgrim plucked from the congregation who read the same passage in French. I am a very nominal Anglican, so that freaked me out a little. But the roof did not fall in.

Conques is also a very popular town for tourists. I felt I was in a parallel universe as I wandered the streets, peering through a veil at exotic creatures from another world. I seemed to be invisible to them in some odd way. We were interested in different things, so our universes did not collide.

A Few Thoughts on Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage allows us to take time out from our normal lives and to reflect on matters of the heart and spirit. Through the rigours of the journey, and the example of our companions along the way, we also learn to understand ourselves better.

Pilgrimage can also be a circuit breaker in our lives. Sometimes we can be too close to a situation to make good decisions. Pilgrimage takes us away temporarily and can give us the perspective to make objective decisions in difficult matters.

Pilgrimage can also bring people together. I met two pilgrims (Daniel and Sumi) who work for The Abraham Path, an ambitious project to establish a pilgrimage route in the Middle East with the aim of bringing together people of different faiths.
See http://www.abrahampath.org/about.php

I hope these postings have been of use to past and intending pilgrims. My stories are simply tools to foster reflection and recollection. If I have brought back happy memories, or given practical help - or planted the yearning to go on pilgrimage, then I am well content. I thank those of you who have been with me on the way.

Tomorrow I will round off with a few random observations.



Bob M
 

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KiwiNomad06

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Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
BobM said:
Conques is also a very popular town for tourists. I felt I was in a parallel universe as I wandered the streets, peering through a veil at exotic creatures from another world. I seemed to be invisible to them in some odd way. We were interested in different things, so our universes did not collide.
Bob M

Bob, I recognised this feeling :lol: I never really decided whether I was a pilgrim, or just someone who enjoyed walking in the outdoors. (Though sometime since I have finished walking, I have decided it isn't a very important question for me anyhow...)

But I know that as I descended into Conques and came face to face with tourists, I knew I had been in a completely different place. I had experienced the joy of walking in some beautiful landscapes for days, and I had needed to persevere even when conditions were tough and my feet were tender. Somehow I had been somewhere that I wouldn't be able to explain to those dressed in quality clothes, shopping for luxury goods....

I never had the chance to stay in the Abbey guesthouse as it was already full. (Though I heard later that they always reserved some beds for those walking with their packs who just 'arrived'.) I stayed instead in the gite communal, and had two nights there so I could have a rest day in Conques. I met some lovely people there, and perhaps got to talk with them more in a 'smaller' place.
Margaret
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
This is my last regular post, but I will keep an eye on the forum in case questions arise. If anyone wants more specific information, just ask.

Pictures

I have finished uploading my pics to Google Maps at:

http://picasaweb.google.com.au/lh/album ... 445617#map

They will give a better idea of the route from Le Puy to Conques than the narrative, but of course they reflect only what caught my eye. For those interested in technical detail, I used a simple Canon compact camera and processed the images in Photoshop. The collage of superimposed images was made with Picassa.

Final Words
This quote from "A Journey to Portugal" by Jose Saramago, might resonate with the more restless travellers among us:

"The end of one journey is simply the start of another. You have to see what you missed the first time, see again what you already saw, see in springtime what you saw in summer, in daylight what you saw at night, see the sun shining where you saw the rain falling, see crops growing, the fruit ripen, the stone which has moved, the shadow that was not there before. You have to go back to the footsteps already taken, to go over them again or add fresh ones alongside them. You have to start the journey anew. Always".

Next year I will be back to continue the journey from Conques, probably in early August. Perhaps I will see some of you then.


Best Wishes

Bob M
 

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BobM

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KiwiNomad06 said:
But I know that as I descended into Conques and came face to face with tourists, I knew I had been in a completely different place. I had experienced the joy of walking in some beautiful landscapes for days, and I had needed to persevere even when conditions were tough and my feet were tender. Somehow I had been somewhere that I wouldn't be able to explain to those dressed in quality clothes, shopping for luxury goods....Margaret

I think this "disconnection" is common among those of us who have completed something special and demanding. And the chemin is special. It may seem ordinary when we are walking with countless other pilgrims who do the same journeys every year. But we "band of brothers" (and sisters!) are really special when considered with the general mass of people who have no desire to test themselves in this way.

It is a great pity, in fact, that our societies are increasingly opting for ease and comfort. Children in particular need challenges in their lives, but they need the example of people around them taking up challenges to inspire them to do likewise.

I don't even talk much about it to my friends, because they can't really relate to the experience. It's outside their own frame of reference. Only people, like those of us here, who have shared the experience can really understand.

BobM
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Bob goodbye and thank you but be warned it's just for now as I will be re-reading these posts and posting more specific questions so hope to pick your brains and Margarets over the coming months of preparation!
You are right this forum and its members provides a welcome place to consider and understand ones journey and certainly helps the process of integration with ones regular life, especially in the 're-entry and de-briefing'' of the first couple of months.
.....But l'lI bet you are already getting excited about next August though :wink: :arrow:
Bonne route
Nell
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi have a look at my accommodation recommendations in the where to stay section. I just finished walking Le Puy to St Jean in 39 leisurely days, had a wonderful time and not at all difficult or hard. Am mid fifties, female, don't do regular exercise, managed well with pack of 6.5 kg excl water. Regards, Gitti
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Hi Gitti,
Congratulations on your achievement. And thank you for your reassuring post it topped up my 'Can do' account when it was beginning to dip a little.
I'm coming to think of yourself, Margaret and Bob as a sort of 'Le Puy Trinity' !- a resource I am going to reference a lot over the coming months. So keep the info, thoughts and observations coming guys we just can't get enough of them really.
Reading these postings has the same effect on me as looking at seed catalogues during the winter months - keeps me positive, focused and cheerful-whatever the weather outside!
Bonne route
Nell
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi Nell, thank you for your feedback. This was a kind of strange walk for me, fantastic, but somewhat overshadowed by worries about my teenage daughter. I spent 3 weeks fretting and finally managed to disengage and let go a little. It was very intense and very distracting for a while. I felt in a panic at times and wanted to go back home to New Zealand, but made myself hang in there. It was about learning to trust and let go... once again the chemin did it's job!
Regards, Gitti
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Hi Gitti, Its great you found your balance on your journey and I hope you can keep that 'Camino state' for as long as possible on 're-entry' to regular life at home.
Hoping everything works out for your daughter, and surely having a camino walking mom is a little bit.... 'cool' 8)?
Bonne route
Nell
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Well done, Gitti. I can't wait to go back and finish the Conques/SJPDP sector next year.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
I have been having trouble logging in with IE, so I have been absent for a while. Now I am using Firefox and no problems (so far!).

Gitti, would you mind posting a list of the places you stayed at after Conques? I will soon be planning the Conques/SJPDP leg and will try to fit in into 20 days.

Regards

Bob M
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Thx, Margaret. Much obliged for the link. :D

Bob M
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi Bob, hope you find the list helpful, have a wonderful walk from Conques to SJ. Regards, Gitti
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
The list will be very helpful in planning daily stages. Last time I just wandered along with zero planning or preparation, but I want to be a little more organised next time.

At the moment, I am thinking of going in August again, but that seems too long to wait, so I might even go in April or May. Have to research the weather and crowds a bit first.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
gittiharre said:
I felt in a panic at times and wanted to go back home to New Zealand, but made myself hang in there.

Gitti might like this story:

A few years ago I trekked to Gokyo Ri in Nepal. It took 8 arduous days to reach the high camp by a lake at the base of Gokyo Ri, not far from Mt Everest.

I met a lady who had made the long trek twice to the holy lake, but failed in her first attempt to reach the summit of the mountain. But on this day she had succeeded, breathing with difficulty in the thin air.

In the distance Mt Everest, Chomolungma, the holy mountain, shone dazzling white. Wisps of snow streamed fiercely from the summit. All around vast craggy mountains, gleaming white snow and bluish ice, jostled together in the greatest mountain range on earth. Prayer flags fluttered in the wind, carrying their messages into the great unknown.

We were almost 5500 metres above sea level, but astonishingly, in this bleak place, an eagle soared in the sky above us.

Seven hundred metres below were the milky blue lake and miniscule tents nestled on its shore. A glacier wound down the valley, an icy dragon slowly edging its way to a distant river, there to melt into waters feeding Mother Ganges, and, at last, to enter the immense ocean.

Next year the monsoons will come again and carry those waters deep into the mountains once more, feeding the snow and glaciers and completing another great, endless cycle - a cycle that lies at the heart of the Buddhist faith.

There is nobility and an example to others that comes from overcoming suffering, and I greatly admired that lady who stood with me on Gokyo Ri, just as I admired the pilgrim who hobbled beside me into Santiago on another pilgrimage, with injuries he had borne stoically for many days.

There is also the universal human need for pilgrimage, to search for something that lies beyond the calculations of reason. Pilgrimge to holy places is a universal yearning of mankind. That is why we walk in the Way of St James, why we trek to holy mountains.

Bob M
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Thank you Bob, this was a lovely story. Gitti
 

nutrinut

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2008, 2014
Aug 16 Brocante

Today I walked 21 km to Lasbros, a small hamlet about 6 km beyond the larger town of Aumont-Aubrac. Many people might have preferred to stay in Aumont-Aubrac for the atmosphere and excitement. The whole town was taken over by a big brocante and most of the streets were blocked to vehicles.

The brocantes of high summer were common in many of the towns I passed through from Le Puy to Conques. There were street stalls piled with fantastic local foods and produce, antiques(?), bric-a-brac. There was the excited tumult of street performers, music, crowds, pilgrims, families en vacance. Voila!

Very exciting, why not stop here? No, M and Mme Hernandez awaited me at their gite in Lasbros, so I trudged on in the burning heat. This was another excellent place to stay, only one other pilgrim, and very hospitable hosts.

Random note: The roads were often lined with blackberry bushes and the sweet little fruit were ripening to their peak. I often stopped and ate these luscious treats. Once I even passed a little section of wild raspberries and enjoyed them as well. There were also plum trees, pear trees, apple trees and big, shady chestnut trees along the way, but none of the fruit was ripe.

Today's pic features some of the various types of crosses that pilgrims commonly see along the way. New crosses are still being built. Every one must tell its own story, and maybe some of the better guidebooks give more background on them.

How did you find their information at Lasbros to reserve a room?
 

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