The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Day 7 - Logibar to St Engrace

The pricing at Logibar was a bit odd, in my opinion. A bed in a shared room in the gite d'etape was €14.50 or €32 for half board, plus €2 if you wanted sheets. A double room in the auberge was €32 per head (including sheets), or €41 half board. I have no idea why food is €20 for gite dwellers but only €9 if you're in a room, but i wasn't complaining! The gite appeared to be full; we had the corridor of individual rooms all to ourselves.

Last night's storm appeared to have cleared overnight and it looked like it was going to be a fine day as we made our way next door to the gite for our breakfast tray this morning (a popular choice - everyone had opted for one rather than waiting for the proper breakfast service at 8am). By the time we made our way up Gorges d'Olhadubi (which is now the official route of the GR10; the main route used to go a significantly shorter but less interesting way) those clouds were looking dark. Then rumbles of thunder were heard.

The rain hit just as we got to The Bridge: a wire suspension bridge which I think warrants capitals for its length, bounciness and mostly for its height above the gorge. I confess that I walked across looking nowhere but dead ahead until I was about 10 paces from the far end, when I braved stepping to the side, clinging on for dear life and looking over the edge. It was a loooong way down!

The rest of our ascent of the gorge was accompanied by heavy rain and a thunder storm, but it was a good hour before we donned jackets, so warm had we been. Eventually the rain gave way and, after just one more violent squall which hit us at the end of the first big ascent, out came the sun and the wind dropped a bit. Another hour later there wasn't a cloud to be seen and we were again baking.

A nicely surfaced track (think UK forestry track - smooth surface, fast walking) took us level for a while and after one last pull uphill on a path through grass, we came to a pass. Contrary to yesterday's never ending wait for the final descent to come, today I couldn't believe it had come so quickly and easily. I had expected the day to be much harder going.

Of course, we still had a long way to go and I'm generally finding down to be harder than up. The hardness of this one was the amount of baking hot tarmac, although it was broken up nicely by a good length of shaded, damp sunken lane.

I couldn't believe it when, hitting the main road at the bottom of the valley, an ice cream stand was there before us. It would have been rude not to, so we did.

The final road-slog to St Engrace passed quickly in the company of Heather (from Australia, but actually South African) and having sat down for a cold drink, thoughts of moving on got converted into "can we have your last pitch please?". So we're pitched cosily with others around the back and taking advantage of the kitchen facilities.

(Louise - I'm not sure you'd have liked that bridge...
Conrad - six days to Logibar. If you look at the post title i always start with the day number.)

10 comments:

  1. You are cracking on well :-) The bridge will be good practice for Chemin de la Mature in a few days time :-)

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    1. Ah, now you see, my issue with bridges is completely separate to my issue with exposure (and even my issues with exposure are only triggered in very specific circumstances). For me the worst possible bridges are those over motorways; I would far rather do this bridge again than following the Pennine Way as it crosses the M62.

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  2. Errrrr...I'd suggest not! Glad you survived.
    Why do I never find conveniently placed ice cream vans? Although tea vans occasionally pop up 😄

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  3. You’ll be getting free cups of tea next, but on second thoughts that’s unlikely in France (maybe vino).

    St Engrace - location of two of my favourite dining out stories. The dogs from the auberge that followed me next morning, too long to tell here, and I am sure you have both heard it, perhaps more than once before!

    The second sees me sitting outside the auberge in the evening sun replete after a good meal inside. There is a general air of jocularity and well being amongst my fellow diners - during the meal amusing conversation has flowed criss crossing across the tables, so relaxing outside there is a sort of fellow feeling. Across the road is the pretty St Engrace church and what follows is a matter of serendipitous timing for the group and the speaker - the group timing has us all looking in the direction of the church at the same time when a figure emerges from the doorway and stands still. He is comical, looking English in badly cut shorts, short of stature and tubby, with a genial smile, Ian Hislop springs to mind now - our convivial evening is rounded off with laughter all round when when a Frenchman in our group announces with perfect timing “Le fantôme de l’église!”

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    1. It may have taken until our last day, but we did get that offer of a cup of coffee, whereupon I did, of course, immediately think of you (in fact, I may have had a sneaky peak over my shoulder to check you weren't behind us and the true recipient of the offer!).

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  4. Nice one Conrad
    I remember the bridge - not really scary at all.
    Nearby was a dead cow. The vultures knew about it. There were masses of them. So quite scary if you didn't like Griffon vultures

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    1. Not really scary at all ... to someone who doesn't have an issue with bridges in general.

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    2. Good point, like spiders aren't scary unless you happen to find them so...

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  5. ALL bridges are scary and not to be trusted in the slightest.
    They know, you know. They have that inbuilt smirk, that third eye, that nasty malevolence. They can spot a bridge-wimp at a mile.

    Ice creams. Yes. Perhaps all this walking nonsense is worth it if there are ice cream vendors around each corner.

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    1. Spot on, Alan - on both counts.

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