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Learning to Walk, Days 7 and 8 September 3 & 4, Montgros to Saint Chely d’Aubrac, Saint Chely to Saint Come d’Olt

September 3, 2022

First to catch up on yesterday. It looks like I may have no roommates tonight, so might be able to get yesterday and today written up after dinner. Yesterday was absolutely spectacular, but then they all are! My days are starting to run together, so I hope I can remember just what I walked through yesterday, and not confuse it with the day before! I may have to let the photos remind me and write captions.

About 2 km on from where I stayed in Montgros was the village of Nasbinals. They were having what I understand was their annual festival, which they had’nt been able to have in three years. It was fun to walk through—cows and bulls and chickens and produce, and it was also market day. I spent more time than I should have in the village—looking at the animals, the church, then searching for an ATM. You have to stock up on cash when you can. Most of the gites accept cash only so you have to be prepared. Also, I thought I had a shorter day than I did, or I would not have spent so much time in town. I made the same mistake today—thinking I had a short, easier day. Not so much. But more about today later.

Shortly after leaving Nasbinals the path enters open, high, grazing land for about 6-7 km. There was a sign before you entered telling you to be sure you closed any gates you opened, and telling you how to walk amongst cattle: 1) if a beast is lowering its head, snorting and stamping the ground, beware! It didn’t really give instructions on what to do if this happens, it just said to beware. 2) If you are close to the cows, walk around them leaving 20-50 meters distance between you and said cows. This was a little challenging when I had to pick a path between cows that didn’t allow for that much room, but they weren’t concerned about me. 3) If a cow comes towards you, walk calmly away, but do not turn your back on it. I did not have to put this instruction to practice. The cows really didn’t care that I was there. 4) Do NOT pet the calves!!! This is a hard one. If they get close enough to you to pet, one would be sorely tempted. But they had no desire to come close. The only bull I saw (photo below) was safely behind a barb wire fence. But again, none of the bulls I’ve seen have seemed to care that humans are walking by.

The landscape was just incredible. The walking was a bit challenging— it was not a lot of hills, but navigating tracks that had worn into narrow channels, and avoiding cow pies. But I wouldn’t mind another day of that landscape. After that it was a descent into Saint-Chely-d’Aubrac. Yet another narrow, stony, steep descent. All the villages in this area are built in the valleys, so you have to climb down into them, then climb back out.

High plateau. Open grazing—probably as free-range as it gets, unless you are on a ranch in the southwest.

Last night’s gite was a standout: Gites St. Andre in Saint Chely. The hosts are so welcoming and kind, and the food was, again, beyond delicious. There just aren’t enough superlatives for this country side and its food.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for—last night’s dinner. I’ll let the pictures tell the story. It was one of the best of many good meals.

And now for today, Day 8. I essentially have my own room—the other two beds are empty, but I have to walk through the adjoining room to the bathroom, and there is someone in there. But at least I can close the door and stay up to write this. But not for long. I may have to shortchange today. I mistakenly thought, again, that I had a shorter, easier day. Nope. This was a very challenging day, made more difficult by the fact that I finished my cheese yesterday, didn’t really have anything for lunch except a peach and the granola ball things I bought at JFK, so I got pretty hungry.. I knew there was a challenging descent into St. Come d’Olt, where I am tonight, but I didn’t know that after that long, rocky descent, I would have to climb over another hill, walk a ways, and descend again. I just kept going and got the convent where I am staying just before four. My earliest arrival yet. There was nowhere to stop between St. Chely and St. Come except one little roadside shelter that had coffee set out. And even if there was a place to stop, nothing would have been open on Sunday.

I took SO many photos leaving St. Chely. It’s gorgeous. In fact, I spent so much the looking back at it that I missed my turn. There’s a lesson there. You have to stop and look back, but not to the extent that you miss the way forward.

My photos are taking longer and longer to upload, and I need to get to bed. I’ll try a few, but you may not get many of them tonight. And I’ll have to tell you about St. Come d’Olt tomorrow.

The view from last night’s gite.

And that’s all I can manage tonight. I think I am always going to be playing catch up.

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  1. Nancy permalink

    Hi Beverly. I am curious to see a map or some kind of representation of the trail you are walking on. I assume if I put in the names of your origin to destination, I can find something. Or the name of the walk/trail you are on.

  2. Reading your posts has become my new bedtime routine. Beautifully evocative of the places, architecture and food. I loved your reflection on emptying your head of thoughts in order to put one foot in front of the other. A very valuable exercise in these times. Go safely. Look forward to the next instalment
    (Ps lovely picture of Em at college too) x

  3. Sleep tight …..

  4. Barb permalink

    Landscape is so beautiful-looks so peaceful. Thank you for sharing your journey

  5. Patricia Decker permalink

    This is how I start my day, by checking in with my groovy friend Bev’s blog and following her adventures. Am so loving this!

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