Oct 3rd and it’s Estaing to Esperyac

This was the autumnal sight that greeted us this morning when we pulled back the curtains, the mist shrouding the hills opposite and the bridge heading towards that mist, all rather grey and dismal. It was much in contrast with the day before when we arrived in sunshine but that’s what you get at this time of the year.

Today the route continues along the Lot Valley and then of course there is the daily climb but before that breakfast, always something to be enjoyed even if basic french bread and coffee!!

 After crossing the bridge we took a right taking us down towards the river and the grey was brightened by the sight, again autumnal, of a garden with pumpkins and gourds. Here’s one I captured on camera.

From these gardens it was walking along the river and the wonderful River Lot looking very mysterious with mist rising from the water .

 As we climbed above the Lot gorges to reach the Rouergue plateau we could look back and see the mist lifting over the river.

 
Our walk now was along little country roads, quiet and picturesque and if you have to walk on raids, the best kind to have. 

One of the highlights of my day was finding a little shrine to a gentleman who was born locally and lived in this area all his life who walked the trails daily and whose photo and message was there for all to read. He would have been a lovely character to meet. In the photo Teresa is telling me his story and bringing me up to date with where we have chosen to stop and have our break.


Next stop Golinhac, an ancient resting place on the St. James Way and where we opted to have lunch. We’d bought our lunch in Estaing so picnic-ed in a lovely spot where we fed the local cat on slivers of fat from the ham and where we could look out over such an inspiring panorama.


Captured this little fellow as he looked for pollen .

 From where we’d had lunch it was a short wander across the square to the church and wonderful sunlight adding a different dimension to things inside.


 Uphill a little further from Golinhac and onwards towards our destination for the evening and plenty of French country scenes like the lady in the photo and nature’s produce.

 

I have mentioned signage before and I am forever amazed at the number of different signs and also the way that symbols like the Scallop shell are used.

Here is that symbol again used on one of the hotels which very clearly marks it out as being on this historic route and also a hotel where pilgrims stay.

At this stage we were looking for our hotel and finally found it towards the bottom of the village and happily across the road from a little shop selling bread and other provisions. It’s a Sunday tomorrow and it’s always important to find out if you can buy on a Sunday or whether you should stock up the night before. We paid a visit, only to be informed by the very cheery shopkeeper that he would be open in the morning so no need to panic.

Now we could turn our thought to check in, that refreshing beer to celebrate then end of another day and a shower before dinner.

We found the lady of the hotel and then followed her to our room – now why, when we were the only people staying, as we found out later, were we on the 2nd (top) floor and in the furtherest room away? Of course there was no lift and no-one ever offers to carry your bag.

The room was fine so we dumped the stuff and headed back down for that beer and the chance to grab the last rays and warmth of the sun.

There was something in the air regarding the hotel and even then we put it down to the end of the season but we felt more of an inconvenience than anything else so it wasn’t surprising really that things didn’t measure up.

The starter was brawn. OK, it is eaten in France but it’s not the usual thing to give to international guests. The main was salmon which was not well cooked and appeared to be more thrown together. We had to ask for bread and water and by this stage the lay clearly felt our disappointment and dissatisfaction as she sent her husband in with desert which was a tin of fruit salad opened and split between two sundae glasses. Well I wouldn’t have eaten it at any stage in my life and wasn’t going to now so we got up and went to bed. What a shame!!




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