July 17, 2008

Day 39: 22 May- Arzacq-Arraziguet to Uzan

I enjoyed the luxury of my single room, and relished the chance to have a second long shower when I woke up in the morning. Trouble was, it was so quiet in my own room, I woke up late without realising it, and was almost too late for breakfast!

There was quite an array of friendly home-made signs along the track leaving Arzacq, always a boost for the morale!
There was also another lake to pass, peaceful, with lots of birdlife. It was another overcast day, and it seemed like there would be more rain, but it ended up being light rain that never lasted long.
In Louvigny there was a 'pilgrim' stained glass window in the church with this cockle shell, staff and gourd.
Somehow the last leg into Uzan seemed to be tiring, but there was a very welcome surprise waiting. There was a lady who had this sign on her front gate.

And in her back garden was set up this umbrella over a table. You could serve yourself coffee or a cold drink, or....... there was delicious cake! (And like all these wonderful places in France, there was a little container where you could leave a small donation.) I stopped and talked with others who also stopped. I especially enjoyed speaking with a couple who lived near Paris, who had also started from Le Puy. They were in their 60s, but were very fit and didn't look their age! I was to enjoy meeting them a few more times over the following days.... and am actually still in touch with them by e-mail.

After a good rest time, the others moved on, but I was staying in a house in the village. The invitation to come in and 'install' yourself was on a little note on the door. The farmers were busy with their farm tasks and would appear later...
It was the feast of St Quitterie, and this town had an old fountain to the saint. Apparently if women bathed their faces in the fountain on the feast day, wonderful things happened to the skin on their faces. I found the fountain, and it was certainly wet on the ground around it, so people had been bathing their faces there..... I didn't fancy getting my knees all muddy though!

Next morning I had breakfast in the farmhouse opposite. The cows were in the barn adjoining the kitchen, and I had some of their fresh milk. Like many villages in this area, the farmhouses were all grouped together, and had space for their animals nearby. But a lot of the fields were further away and the farmer travelled on his tractor to get to them. Quite different from the very 'separate' farms we have here at home in NZ.

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