July 17, 2008

Day 27: 10 May- Moissac to Auvillar

Leaving Moissac I was soon walking alongside the canal, first near the River Tarn, and later the Garonne. It was easy flat walking, mostly under trees, and was very pleasant. There were apparently poisonous vipers along here too, but I am glad I never saw them! There were canal boats of various kinds to watch, and several times I stopped to watch the lock operated, seemingly more or less in an automatic way.
I climbed, as Rom had suggested, to the village of Malause, a pleasant village with the cleanest, flashest set of public toilets I had seen anywhere. As I sat on nearby seats munching and drinking, a woman approached me. Turned out she was a former pilgrim. She had some dire tales to tell though, as it seemed like the heat in Spain had stressed her heart, and she had suffered depression once she finished and had no other 'project' in her life. Her story remained alarmingly in my mind and made me want to rush through Spain before the heat hit... She now does the Camino routes by camper van, supporting her husband who walks. He told me he hadn't enjoyed the Portuguese route so much as it was largely on busy roads. But he loved the route from Seville, though it was harder as you needed to take longer stages....It turned into a bit of a reunion day, with the Dds, and Lyne and Denis from Quebec, all of whom had also had a rest day in Moissac. We had a short break on the seats at the end of Espalais, before tackling the climb up into Auvillar.
We crossed the Garonne, and in this area, these atomic chimneys were always present in the landscape, and I always find myself with an uneasy feeling knowing they are nearby...

After Espalais the climb to Auvillar broke the flatness of the day. We grimaced at the steepness, but really it was only steep for a short stretch.

Auvillar is a beautiful old town with this central rotunda that was used for measuring grain. There were many arched arcades, and a lovely clocktower.
This was a holiday weekend, and none of us had reserved in the gite communal in time. I was in a chambre d'hote for the first time -like a B&B. I found it a bit strange, as I had absolutely beautiful facilities, like a very comfy bed and my own bathroom with luxurious towels, but I felt rather isolated, and as if conversation with the couple whose home it was, was not part of the 'deal'. (It was also more costly, and I paid what I usually paid for demi-pension - though I found a wonderful restaurant in the village where I ate later.) But there was plenty to see back in Auvillar where I went wandering...

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