We’ve gone away for a week. I wanted a chance to walk every day for 5-6 days… test my gear, my feet, my stamina… break the 20km mark… just prepare. So, we drove down to the Tarn department with no fixed plan and found a little campsite for the camper just outside of Albi.
The first day was hot… Lautrec (as in Henri Toulouse Lautrec) was very pretty and the walk was mainly ok but one part was so steep there were steps cut into the hill to help you climb up. We passed a group of french walkers going in the opposite direction… one poor exhausted looking chap looked up and simple said ‘courage mon brave’! We planned to walk further but the signs took us prematurley back to the village… so we had a wander round this lovely town instead.
Day 2 we drove to Cordes sur Ciel… but the tourist office was closed and we had no map so we decided to move on. We stumbled across a town on a circuit of the local vineyards – 19km. It seemed ideal so we parked and went walking. The walk was undulating and it was hot… no shade meant we were getting burnt and by the end of the walk we were chasing from one bit of shade to the next. Bad news today – my feet have a few small blisters.
Day 3 – I’ve taped my toes and feet to help my blisters and I’ve removed the new specialst insole that I had made… which I suspect was causing me problems. We drove to the Aveyron Gorges and did a curcuit of a very pretty little fortress village. We’d planned to visit a Templar Fortress but it was closed and all the walking markers had all been removed and the old fort ‘felt spooky’… athough Gerry wasn’t impressed with that reason.
Today’s walk was was grim… there’s no nicer way to put it. The first few kilometres were clearly the local dog walking circuit so we were picking our feet through the dog poo! The path was overgrown and barely 50cm wide in places… pretty hairy when at times there was a shear drop on one side! Most of the path was heavily forested and I felt like I was being bitten everywhere… at one point we both seemed to aquire a pet fly that insisted on travelling with us… I just wanted the walk to end. What a relief to see a road… and what a disappointment to see the path disappear back into the forest. The walk back down was equally dreaful but slippery loose stones added to our enjoyment.
The only upside was that we got back in time for a lovely meal… Gerry almost cried (or almost had a tantrum) at the thought of climbing up the steep fortress entrance to get to the village… He actually refused until I showed him the map… he saw his ‘menu du jour’ slipping away… he really should trust my map-reading skills more!
Bad news… three horrible blisters and a sore ankle from going over on the way down!