We left the large town of Aire-sur-l’Adour by following the ladies from St. Emilion who read city maps better than I do. They call,us the Fast Americains as we usually pull away from them after we leave a town. Upon leaving this city of 6000 we found ourselves in Kansas.
If I ever get the idea to walk across Kansas, please stop me. Walking on the flat is easy but boring. straight miles of gravel roads. Plenty of farmers with black berets and tractors working the corn or maize fields. But after you have seen a million emerging corn shoots, you don’t need to see anymore to know what they look like. I am glad there are farmers and I am equally glad that I am not one.
It was fun to keep leap frogging and then being passed by the same familiar faces. The burro lady was coaxing her pal along the trail. Plenty of bridges to cross. She told us that the burro is OK going into Spain since there is no border check and he responds to Spanish. Ran into the sausage cook from the Blacksmith Gite several times. Also played the passing game with the four folks from Aix en Provence all morning long.
Brings us to the Picnic topic. The French eat three times a day. No more no less. No snacks. At Midi or lunch they stop and eat. On a trail that means picnic. For us it might include a sandwich if our timing is perfect and there is a Patisserie making sandwiches as we pass. Sometimes it is chocolate, dried fruit and a granola bar. Very disgusting to the French. They also have maps that tell where picnic tables are located instead of a picnic on the side of the road. Although the sausage man was caught eating his sausage and baguette in the grass.
Ruby Slippers. You need those to get back to Kansas and to get out of trouble. We only have boots and flip flops. However, we do have the French. It seems that whenever we are in perceived trouble, they come to the rescue. Perfect example today. Because of this big holiday week, accommodations are very tight. We have been having our hosts phone ahead for us. We thought we had a room in a hotel in Miramont Sensacq. Got there and it was closed. This is a Saturday. D What gives? The French to the rescue.
The group from Aix saw us trying to find out what was going on. The hotel manager explained that we could not have a reservation since they are not open on the weekend. Turns out she was right. We had a reservation at a place five Kms away. She phoned for us and confirmed this. Since we were looking at a park bench option, we were relieved. The people from Aix acted as intermediaries and pushed the hotel manager to help us. It worked.
Peggy was choked up for miles as we walked. It seems that whenever we seem to be heading into trouble, French kindness and compassion comes to the rescue. Who needs a tin man?
We walked with the Aix folks for the next five Kms and tromped through the same mud. They kind of stuck with us to make sure that we found our farm. We did the French kiss deal and shook hands. We then found our place at the Foix Gras farm. What a place. We have our own apartment with a washing machine and kitchen. They don’t cook for us but they produce ready made pâté and Cassoulet. Just heat and serve. Also have their own wine and all,of the other ingredients for our dinner. They describe their place as a “veritable rendezvous-vous Gastronomique”. We are happy to have been delivered in Kansas into the hands of the duck farmers.