July 17, 2008

Day 3: 16 April- Monistrol d'Allier to Saugues

I had heard about the steep climb out of Monistrol d'Allier
had seen how close the altitude lines were on the map
but in the end I found again that my fitness training counted.
A woman from Grenoble joined me as I slowly made my way up the steep road but I urged her on
...she was of mountain stock and I was holding her up.
She left me with encouraging words about each of us having our own rhythm.

It wasn't long before I came to this chapel,
at one with the volcanic rock,
photographed by everyone...
And after that the way became even steeper for a little while,
but taking it slowly, at my own pace
I was surprised by how quickly I had come to a place
where the slope reduced
and the walk became easy.

For a while I was surrounded by many hills
and my heart rejoiced as always with the views.
And later the walk became flat again,
with farmland that reminded me of home.

I was becoming used to the mud on farm paths
though I think the dragon-woman at the restaurant I reached for lunch was a bit shocked by my appearance!

There was another treasure of a place to stay this evening in Saugues,

a gite "a la ferme", aka the Martin's place.
My coming from New Zealand was a cause for some excitement
and I was given a wonderful room to myself
with views over the farmland
and when I went to the church that evening to get my credential stamped they already knew about the lady from New Zealand.
"Radio Camino" worked well in France!
Dinner as cooked by Mme Martin was a wonderful affair
with delicious food and good company: my four 'mates' from the first two nights saved me a place near them,
so they could help me
when the French around me was spoken too fast,

as I was the lone English speaker here...

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