Day one 23.5km, day two 18.5km up and downhill (but i swear the book was wrong – took a short cut which was supposed to take off 2.7km and it added it instead grrrr), got into some little town and was certain I would never walk again, lay on my bed for 4 hours before I dared to put my feet on the floor; thought I was going to have to take a taxi the next day, but no I did a Lazarus the next morning (today) and walked 31.5km to Saint Alban. Right now I am in a little bar with internet surrounded by Frenchmen all a bit disturbed to see me here, cluttering up their all male environment.
Knackered, but tomorrow is a short day to Aubrac. Weather good so far, rained heavily last night so rivers swollen. I thought I was in for a soaking, but it was good just light rain in the morning and then overcast breezy all day (way better than sunshine – am already getting a builders tan and it is only day three!)
Walking etiquette – I swear I don’t know why I was worried about walking alone. There are way too many people for my liking. Canadian Ray, Danish Frank, another Canadian Marie, French Veronique who seems keen to walk with me and always complains I am ahead of her (some sneaky early morning departures), plus an assortment of French people. Everyone is very nice but I am not ready yet to engage in conversation, very much enjoying the solo experience right now. I may be ready to talk in about two weeks. Identified about 5 people so far who are planning on walking all the way to Santiago, the rest are doing short walks.
I am fast learning that the French have a medicine / cure for everything. I first noticed it in Lyon where I headed for a pharmacy to buy sunscreen (not getting caught again by airport security confiscating it). From the number of people queuing at the counter where you pick prescriptions up from you would swear there was some major disease outbreak. I know they weren’t queuing to pay for toothpaste because I went to the main checkout and there was no-one there. On the walk today I met two elderly French ladies, who after an exchange of French/Spanglish pleasantries about the pain of long distance walking, one of them whipped out a phial of pills, to be put under your tongue which they swore would relieve leg pain. Naturally I took them as I would have taken any drug at that moment. Sitting here in the bar another Frenchman has recommended some foot cream. Now I know for a fact (ie reported on the BBC) that the French suffer from a malady of ‘heavy legs’ and they have medicine for it. In fact it is quite acceptable to call up work, stating ‘heavy legs’ and to take a sick day. Now I am looking for a cure for 5kg off my backside to lighten the load on my feet. If anyone has a medicine for that, it is certain to be the French.