Left the warm and luxurious Convent around eight. It was raining as had been the forecast. Picture 20 or so pilgrims wrapping themselves in waterproofing (some more than others). While we had prepared for rain, this would be the real acid test. Gratefully, rain gear in light continuous rain did just fine. Our Englishman’s Pilgrim Guide came in handy.
We were advised at the Convent to avoid a section of the trail that is treacherous in rainy conditions. We followed the nun wisdom and arrived safely in Espalion around 10 after we had visited the Eglise de Perse dedicated to this saint who walks around holding his head in his hands. I believe It was St. Roch. Almost a perfect example of Romanesque style. The tympanum gave the standard warnings to those who are naughty.
In the town Espalion it was market day. Lots of serious shoppers. Created a bit of a challenge navigating with backpacks through the shoppers lined up to buy their fresh oysters and whatever. Peggy got us apples and I got a couple sandwiches at the local boulangerie.
Walked along the Lot River before heading inland. We reached Eglise (church) Sainte-Pierre and Peggy was excited as there was an 10 Century bell tower and chapel above the main church. Not sure the reason behind the elevated chapel but there was a scary staircase and the bell went off shaking the entire place, or at least it seemed so. Peggy was happy. Stopped at a bar and bought a lemonade to go with our picnic.
The funky little English guidebook came in handy. It advised us to stick to the little road rather than following the GR 65 in wet weather. It was a couple of kilometers longer but would not be slippery like the trail. Our compatriots, Marie and Richard, were skeptical since that advice was not in their French guide. We arrived in Estaing some two hours before people who left this morning with us. The poor French ladies were covered in mud from slipping and falling in the slime.
We were showered and had toured the charming town of Estaing before many other pilgrims straggled in. The town with its fairy tale castle that once belonged to the Count and is now another convent. The little town of 1000 had more character than a bunch of Fantasylands.
Currently enjoying a bottle of the local vintage,Estaing Cuvée des Coustoubis 2010. Heading across the Gothic bridge for dinner a little later and will try to up load this document. We are 170km into our journey. Have completed nine days, one of which was rainy. Good luck with the pictures.
We are staying in a five room hotel. Warm are plenty of hot water.