After a comfortable but noisy night, there was a mouse (??) under the floorboards trying to eat its way into my room, I was away early. In fact my earliest start for my shortest day.
Sky completely cloud covered and quite cold which was a nice change. Easy walking on good tracks and only one slight navigation problem. I think the people who do the waymarking must have an ‘anxiety meter’ to tell them when to make the next mark. Certainly when I start to get anxious a mark usually appears.
The grape harvest is in full swing here. No longer are the vineyards full of jolly locals and students, now it’s all done by machine.
Before any time at all I found myself at the Pont de Diable (Devil’s Bridge) a romanesque job crossing the River Herault with its spectacular gorge that would be familiar to anyone who has been to the Ardeche region. We are just the other side of the Cevennes from there after all. Being September everything is shut apart from weekends – no coffee, so I crossed the new bridge to carry on.
After a longish road walk (there is no alternative in the gorge) the Way leaves the road and is much better. And then as I turned a corner there it was, Saint-Guilhem Le Desert, the end of my walk.
I took a roundabout way into the village to get the best photo opportunities and arriving in the square went for a coffee. Here I was engaged in conversation by a Canadian lady and when she discovered that I had to find accommodation for tonight offered to show me where she and her friend were staying. Upshot is that I’m staying at the Carmel, the pilgrim hostel run by Carmelite Sisters who seem a jolly bunch. If you’ve ever wondered what the key to a nunnery looks like, here you go
disappointing I know if you were expecting something a bit more gothic but this is 2013 after all.
Dropped my gear off; can’t take rucksacks upstairs again for risk of bedbugs (punaises de lit if you’re interested) and set off for a spot of lunch.
After lunch as I start my journey home tomorrow I have to address the “Mrs Sixwheeler’s Present” problem. Now St Guilhem is a very pretty tourist oriented village with lots of shops selling local and ‘arty crafty’ stuff. Some tasteful some utter tat.
Now for this trip’s solution to the MSP problem I think that I’ve played a blinder. It’s ….. oh sorry I can’t tell you because Mrs S is reading this blog and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I’ll let you all know if she likes it!
Start the journey home tomorrow, two more sleeps.
25 September 2013
I was going to give you a picture of me sitting in a nunnery courtyard but I’ve just looked at it and it’s far too scary so here is the lovely peaceful courtyard but without me.
I’ve just been for an evening walk round the village and decided to have dinner at a restaurant in the square. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say that a great deal of duck fat was involved and that it was delicious.