Wednesday, 21 August 2013


The via Podiensis begins in the department of the Haute Loire. Le Puy is only 75km from Claremont Ferrand. It is very much the Masif Central. Very quickly you pass into the Lozere but the ambience is still high mountain plateau. By the 3rd day you are in the Aveyron which covers 100km of the route.  In the guide book I had noticed mention of a local delicacy called Aligot. I thought that it would be good to try it.  On Sunday night we had finished our salad when the hostess appeared with an enormous saucepan and an equally large wooden spatula. She proceeded to dollop large quantities of a creamy coloured glutinous substance on our plates-Ali got. It is a mixture of potato and cheese. It was actually delicious.
In the 1970s when I was learning to kayak one instructor said that the key is to regard the kayak as part of yourself. On the chemin I feel the same about my rucksack. It becomes an extension of yourself and repays you if you give it meticulous attention.
During the day today the two words which I have used are - waiting and stillness. We have to graciously wait on God.   (The prophet Isaiah says that God waits on us). In the early part of the day I  was walking just behind another Pilgrim for more than an hour. Competitiveness is not part of the experience.
After a long walk through woods the town of Saint-Come d'olt appeared in the valley below signalling the end of the Aubrac and the beginning of the Lot valley section of the walk.
Saint-Come is a lovely town with delightful medieval streets . Since it was nearly noon I asked a man who was arranging his bar what time lunch would be available.He clearly had his eye on more 'up-market' customers as he directed me away! Passing the Romanesque chapel de Perse I arrived at Espalion around 2.30. It is a delightful  town in the Upper Lot with an an ancient bridge. Our Auberge was a very old house just over the same bridge. There was a notice at the entrance saying that if you had a booking you should just find your room and settle in. I was soon joined by two delightful Dutch people and later by Daniel from Cluny who had set off from his home. The Dutchman,called Tim, had set off from Vezalay. We were later joined by a German who I had met previously.
I wandered into town for a beer. Over supper I fell into a profound conversation with Marion who is from Tours..It was a lovely evening. Today was the first time that I experienced the fellowship of the pilgrimage.

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