21 April, 2011
I visited the magnificent Gothic cathedral at Auch. I sat in absolute silence. Two pigeons fluttered around in the vault like lost souls trying to find the light.
There is nothing to compare with the beauty of shape and form of the great cathedrals of Europe. And there is a presence here, human, if not divine, of the workers who spent more than a hundred years building this place, and left their mark in the gargoyles and sometimes in crude carvings, and of the people who worshipped here in times of war and pestilence over the centuries.
The Choir is a marvel with114 carved wooden misericords.
Today there was still no rain, but the weather is changing. We are now at least ten on the road: Patrick and I, the Norwegian ladies, a Dutch girl, an Icelander, and two French couples.
We walk separately for the most part, but find each other from time to time, at a bar or by the side of the road. This is one of the pleasures of the Camino.
This is foie gras country. As we reached our destination, we passed a field of ducks whose days were numbered, and we discussed whether killing baby seals with a club was crueller than force-feeding birds to make their livers fat.
As it turned out, the farm where seven of us are staying produces foie gras in the traditional way, with grain and corn rather than artificial proteins, but the poor birds are still force-fed. The French maintain they are force-fed in gentle manner.