A Bell too Far

Just when you think that you have figured this hiking thing out, there are surprises. After the rest day I figured that we would be up for a big day. What I did not take into account were devious hills that got placed between us and our destination.

Left Conques around eight as usual. We knew we had a thousand foot climb to start the day. According to the guide book, the rest of the day was long but gentle.

Made it to the closed St. Roch chapel easily since it was on the way out of town. Closed but we took pictures of it with Conques in the background. Dropped some more to cross a Roman stone bridge over the Dourdou River. We then commenced a pilgrim hike straight up to the Chapel of St. Foy, the child martyr who made Conques what it is today and for the last thousand years or so. When you reach the Chapel some 500 feet above the bridge, you can ring the bell. It was our first ringing for the day.

Continued to climb until we reached a plateau that undulated for a number of Kms. We dropped down into the town of Noailhac and stopped for a cherry syrup and mineral water refreshment. Nice WC which you never pass up. Also bought our picnic. Proceeded to climb a big hill with the stations,of the cross and another chapel to St. Roch at the top. It also had a bell to ring.

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OK, that is two bells, two Rochs and one Foy so far. Continued to walk through wheat fields and stopped for lunch at a pilgrim rest stop. Picnic tables and shelter were nice. Ran into a Suburban Parisian who spoke English very well. enjoyed lunch with him.

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To get to our destination, the guidebook wanted us to go into the industrial city of Decazville with its abandoned open pit mine. It also meant more climbing and descending. We tailed three French guys who were taking a poorly marked shortcut. Worked well but we still ended up in the outskirts of Decazeville. A call to our host revealed that we were still five km from stopping. Not only that but we needed to climb another 600 feet to another St. Roch church. Peggy was not happy but put on a happy face.

Made it to the top with not much energy to spare. No bell but a nice stamp for our pilgrim passport. Still needed to descend 600 feet to Livinhac. We were both tired and dragging.

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Our host, she has one room to let for pilgrims, said she would put out a couple of beers for us. Kept me going. Of course when we reached the town we needed to climb up to the town square and our destination. Showers are done. Peggy is napping and we have a dinner reservation at eight. We will sleep well tonight in our own room.

Changing plans and will shorten our walk for tomorrow. We are still ahead of schedule. Time to use some of that now. After Figeac, 24 km from here, the terrain flattens out. I think we will go some 13 km tomorrow.

We are well. Just tired.

5 thoughts on “A Bell too Far

  1. Glad that you guys are doing well and are planning a shorter day for tomorrow. The pictures are great as is the blog itself – so glad that you are doing this. The hike is inspiring and the blog is wonderful. Hugs to you both.

  2. I look forward to reading your messages each day. I’m so glad to hear from you and to learn the latest adventure. I am sharing this blog with our friends from Texas via Great Britain and France!

  3. I am just so impressed with your stamina. I doubt very much I would have the physical strength to endure climbing up and down “devious hills” (they look like mountains to me) with a backpack and a smile on my face. I can’t believe your resilience.

    Love the pictures. By the way, I think you should install a bell at the ridge for Peg to ring each day.

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