We met with them in Paris in January, and luckily, Maurice invited us to accompany them on this hike along the pilgrimage route of St. Jacques-de-Compostelle. This is a path that runs through France before joining El Camino de Santiago, the famous Spanish route known as "The Way" that leads to the ocean and the place where St. Jacques (James the Apostle) is said to be buried.
During our travels, I learned that this is considered the third most important pilgrimage to Christians, behind Jerusalem and Rome.
The hike may still be a pilgrimage to many people, but mostly the route is filled with hikers now who enjoy the rolling hills and cows they pass by before getting to the steeper regions in the Pyrenees.
The scenery and the villages have been breathtaking.
Unlike in the U.S., and in my book Trail Mix about hiking the Appalachian Trail, the pilgrims here hike from inn to inn, or gîtes to gîtes as they are called here in France. This is much easier than carrying all your belonging on your back and camping each night, going without a shower for days and digging a hole to use the bathroom.
Linda had planned to be the driver and I said I might hike some. But the first day as we reached the lovely gîtes in Aumont-Aubrac, rain was forecast. I decided to skip the wet walk and to ride along playing tourist with Linda.
Most of our hike takes place in Aveyron, France
and we have traveled from one beautiful village to the next.
Our first stop was at a gîtes in Aumont-Aubrac where we shared a meal with fellow travelers. The chef/owner of the gîtes showed off the "aligot" which is mashed potatoes mixed with so much cheese, garlic and creme fraiche. Yum.
Mostly, Linda and I have focused on food and churches.
|Here's a view of the church from the choir loft in Nasbinals|
|Sunrise on Day 2 of not hiking|
The countryside reminds me of a Jane Austen novel.
|The countryside if full of huge boulders -- maybe they were pushed there by a glacier like in Ohio.|
The third day rain was predicted again so I skipped the hike to explore Espalion, a beautiful city wher unfortunately so ancient buildings were torn down as recently as 1968.
|The chateau and vieux pont in Espalion|
|The church steeple in in a spiral and is called flamboyant gothic style.|
|This reflection on the floor.|
|The city of Estaing. Another chateau, another old bridge.|