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Learning to Walk, Day 9, September 5, Saint-Come-d’Olt to Estaing, 20 km according to the guide, 24 according to my Apple Watch

September 5, 2022

While my American friends (most of them, anyway) had a day off for Labor Day, I indeed labored today. This was not my favorite day. I think it got up to 90 degrees and much of the day was on pavement with no shade. There were a few blissful walks through the woods in shade, but not much. But I made it. The last one in, as usual. The advantage to arriving at your gite last is that everyone else has already showered and done their washing so you don’t have to worry so much about hurrying! The disadvantage is that you get the only bed left in the room, which in this case is a cot. The other three beds are real beds. We’ll see how sleeping goes tonight.

What redeemed today were the two 10th-11th century church/chapels. They were beautiful, and amongst those stones laid so long ago you can almost feel the presence of more than a millennia of worshippers and pilgrims. So many of these churches and villages are here because of the pilgrims making their way to Santiago/St. Jacques. This area of France developed around the pilgrimage route in many ways.

The first chapel was Eglise de Perse, 11th century Romanesque Chapel dedicated to St. Hilarion who was decapitated while serving mass, calmly picked his head up and washed it and brought it to his mother (thanks to Dave Whitson’s guide for this info). I’m sure his mother appreciated the gesture. Here are some photos:

The second special church along today’s way was St. Pierre de Bessuejouls (a Celtic word for “clearing in the woods.”). Again, thinks to Dave Whitson for this info. Most of the church is 14th century, but the really cool thing here is the chapel in the bell tower that goes back to the 11th century chapel of St Michael, and the altar up there is 9th century. You have to climb a winding, very narrow staircase with very big steps to get up there. I did a video of it, but I don’t know if I can share it. I’ll try. Here are photos:

I’m going to have to stop—it’s bedtime, and as always, pictures are loading slowly. Here are a few more from this day. Though it was a brutal day of walking it ended in the fairy tale village that is Estaing. The chateau that is in the center of the village belongs to the family of former President Giscard d’Estaing. I wish I had time to tour it tomorrow. But I don’t. It’s a 22 km day, which by my watch will mean at least 25, and thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon.

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  1. oh the beauty of your photos…I’m so grateful to see them as I sit on the 14A bus !…your photos are just beautiful…the chapels, the skies, the towns . . wow, wow. wow……. you are amazing !
    I wonder if they decorate these beautifully spare altars at Christmas and Easter (?)
    sending you unrestrained respect and admiration ….xxx

  2. What do you do in a thunderstorm?

    • I hope there will be some structure nearby where I can take shelter, If not, I think I remember reading that if you’re caught out in the woods or in the open try to stay away from trees and find a low lying spot to crouch down in

  3. Nancy permalink

    Beautiful photos. Love following along on your journey.

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