No wifi yesterday. Storm knocked out electricals in many places. Or that was their story and I believed them.
Day 10: St Armand to Chatelet.
I bid adieu to the Von Trappe family and headed to my campsite. Big mistake. It was about 2 km off my route and the site was crap. I say this literally as there was only one male “shitter” for the whole place. And, and this is the real stinker, no papier de toilet and they removed the toilet seat. And no amenities. All for 11 euros. Crap. I decided that I would no longer camp as they were getting worse as I headed south. In the morning everything was damp. And, and the gate was locked so I had to climb over the fence to get out at 6 am. Sacre Blue, mon dieu. It must have a site seeing an old fart like me climbing over a fence at 6 am.
I got going well enough but got into a bit of trouble again. As I was singing a few of my favourite Eagles tunes I missed a marker and ended up walking about 6 km more that I had to. I was very upset with my own stupidity. Finally walking through a small village and by a garden that had the biggest and reddest and juiciest tomatoes you will ever see. I felt like grabbing one but then thought of those dogs from the day before and thought better of it.
Finally made it to my first stop: Loye-Sur-Arnon. As I walked into town I thought I was seeing a vision, an oasis,for there, right in front of me was a cafe, open, with a terrace.Seated outside were 3 pilgrims like me. How can you tell? Other than the backpack being a dead giveaway,the sort of unwashed look about them was also a clue. Frederic,his partner Daughine and Bruno, from Paris. Younger than me but great people. Had lunch together in the French way. Long, tasty and rich. Fun. They could speak a little English and with my shattered French we got along just fine: the 3 Musqueteers, er 4 counting myself.
Frederic, the top pic turned out to be a real character. You know, the world needs more characters. And you find characters in every country, no matter what, and they are always people you are drawn to. Natural leaders. Frederic was fun loving,great sense of humour and very positive outlook on life. Wonderful.
We all met later at Chatelet and they shared dinner with me. And that is something because of the lack of services on this route one has to carry their food. We all sat outside at Chatelet and had a wonderful time till very late. Daughine is Frederic,s partner and Bruno is their friend. Bruno recently lost his parents so he is doing this walk to re-think his own sense of being and belonging. Good luck to him.
And just to prove to you that I am really here:
All she wrote:
Thought of this tune all day today while walking:
Day 11: Chatellet to Chateaumaillant – famous for wine.
The 4 Musqueteers are all staying at the same place. An over priced gite. I pronounced this git but it is pronounced jeet. No wonder I was getting these crazy looks. I said goodbye to my French friends as they were going to Chartre, some 30 km away. I decided to only do 10 km as I needed a break but rather take a whole day off I decided to only do 10. But some how these short days end up being the longest. Today was no exception. I arrived at Chateaumaillant early but all of the hotels,gites, and hostels were full so I had to camp again,and the campsite was about a km off my track – bummer. Oh well, finally here and settled.
The short walk was fine. Countryside was gorgeous. Hilly, meadows skirted by shallow but lush forest canopies. One village in particular was very quaint. They were having an outdoor flea market. They call it something else here but one thing is certain: junk is junk no matter where it comes from. The other thing I noticed was this unique early morning bird call. Goes something like this: oooooooo-whooooooo, oooooooo,whooooo. Don,t know what kind of bird it is but it is always singing that tune each and every morning.
Being a short day I thought I would spend some time on some stats:
Completed 11 days,
Completed 245 km
Drank the equivalent of A Great Lake in water
Highest temp: 44 Celcius in Premerly. 8 days of over 34 degrees
Spent about 30 euros per day on average
Hate my Ipad
Walk an average of 25 km per day
Have met many people
Physically demanding in hills
Most villages deserted and very few services
French beer is surprisingly good
I hate my Ipad
Better than I expected. Way better.
I should be thin but I am not
French distance markers are wrong. In fact the French kilometer is longer than anywhere else in the world. I,ll give you an example. On day two I was nearing my campsite at Guipy when I came up to a roadsign that indicated Guipy-3.5km. After about 30 minutes I came up to another roadsign that indicated Guipy-3.5 km. F@#k I sceamed. How can that be I screamed again as I was tired and anxious. After another 30 minutes walk I came up to another road sign that indicated Guipy-3.5 km. Being a good catholic I yelled to my lord: Holy F@#k. I was freaking out.True story,and
I really hate my Ipad as it takes twice as long to correct mistakes as in making them.
Change in music. Some marching tunes: