July 17, 2008

Day 12: 25 April- Estaing to Golinhac

My feet felt so much better after a day of rest, and I began this new day with renewed enthusiasm. It was a beautiful, happy day as it turned out.The path began again a long a quiet road next to the River Lot- and this time, it was one that was reserved exclusively for pedestrians...
The first night in Estaing I had spent with several other Antipodeans (quite a rarity on this journey), but the second night my company was largely with a German group. Here are some of them setting off into the beautiful scenery of this day.

Gradually the walk left the river, and headed uphill. Surprisingly, there was not much mud, and I seemed to be half-way up in no time, and enjoyed seeing plenty of spring foliage and valley views.

Along some of the rocky cuttings, flowers were also announcing spring.
It was a much warmer day and later I walked in t-shirt and shorts, and even had a long lunch with my socks off, which was a real treat for my recovering feet.
I loved this whole area, so little touristed and so very picturesque.
I found the roof lines enchanting and was distracted looking at the buildings all along the way!
I arrived in Golinhac, and was so glad I had decided to stop there for the night. It was in a breath-taking position, sitting on the top of a cliff, with an uninterrupted view of the land below.
I can't believe I never took a photo of the scene... But I think the view was so awe-inspiring that I felt that a photo simply could not capture it, and I didn't want to take a small segment that simply couldn't reflect the whole. But I sat looking at that view for quite some time.

I was lucky with accommodation in Golinhac too. I went to the camping ground that has a very nice gite building. But it seemed like I was the only woman solo-walker that night, and the lovely lady who ran the place, didn't want to put me in a gite that was to be full of men that night. She said they would probably snore... She gave me a room in a chalet for the same price! -with my own bed in my own room, and my own shower- and later I had company of a couple in the other room of the chalet.

There was good company in Golinhac too. I had afternoon tea at the local restaurant with two French women I had seen first in Aumont-Aubrac: we sat outside enjoying the view. And later I had a long talk with a Swiss guy on 'my' chalet deck- he had already walked 750km from home, which seemed such a huge distance when I had hardly started. It was meeting people like him that provided me with inspiration along the way. Finally, there was a welcoming group of men (who were staying in the gite) to share the evening meal with.

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