The gite last night was the most comfortable I have experienced. It was more of a chambre d'hôtes really, as Marie, our host, supplied towels, and the beds were made up with sheets. She said that she doesn't have any other guests; she just wants to cater to pilgrims. In the morning, she led me out of town to the beginning of the footpath.
At first the going was easy. I climbed slowly with a nice view of the cathedral on my right. I passed a group of randonneurs who were out for their weekly hike. I ran into them again after I had missed a turning and made an unintended detour. Their leader, Jean, was a little odd. At first he was willing to give me directions, but when I had a follow-up question, he walked away and didn't want to talk to me. He may have been a little embarrassed because he had just led his group in the wrong direction. Oh well, it takes all sorts. I continued along the GR which sometimes followed a track through the woods and sometimes the road.
Suddenly, it left the road and took off at right angles down to the river. I slid down the slope, slippery after last night's rain, and followed the muddy path around the river through tree-high weeds and nettles. I was assailed by March flies and mosquitos and midges and ticks, and other sundry buzzing insects. After that experience, I resolved to follow the GR only on the high ground.
The trouble is that you ever know what it is going to do. Sometimes I have taken the road only to find out later that the walk along the path was spectacular and not difficult at all. Other times I have taken the GR to find it difficult and interminable.
I had my crust and cheese at Lombres, and made my way by circuitous country roads via Hautaget to Montserie. I passed some spectacular gardens. Sometimes the flowers were displayed in unusual ways.
Tonight we are staying at a municipal gite in the middle of nowhere. IIt's a fine modern gite with a washing machine, so I was able to wash most of my clothes. I prepared a fine meal of sausages and lentils. This is an old favourite of mine. Last year I carried an emergency can of the same for those occasions when nothing was open. Tonight's can for two was provided by the mayor.
Later, I extracted a tick that was embedded in my hip. The ticks here are tiny little buggers, not like our old friends in Manitoba.