After Lons-le-Saunier we travelled to Lyon to again stay with Laurent and Christine; our Servas friends we met last year while on our cycle touring trip heading South to the Pyrenees. On a quiet day strolling around Lyon in 2012 we found a compact Michelin walk guide for the Camino starting at Le Puy-en-Velay and travelling to Santiago de Compestella. It inspired us to tackle the long walk of 1600kms; 450kms of which we are doing this year with the hope that we will return to complete the rest of the Camino soon.
After Lyon we set off for Le Puy-en-Velay by train and enjoyed an evening with Servas hosts Guylaine and Edouerd. We enjoyed some typical food of the region; French Lentils and a special sausage from the area; together with their soup made from the vegetables grown nearby by themselves. The meal was finished off with a large platter of local French cheeses and herbal tea and honey. The family have a beehive and this hive provides 20 jars of honey each year for very little effort, a hive needs attention just 4 times a year we were told. Seems a lot less effort compared to keeping chooks!!!
The next morning, 16th April, after a typical French breakfast of bread and jam, and in this case honey, Edouerd walked us up to show us ‘The Way’ to the Camino path. Here we said our goodbyes and set off on our first day on the long walk meeting up in the first instance with Debra; from the Sunshine Coast who was setting for the long walk to Santiago but had plenty of time to do it in. Debra had allocated many months to do just that !!! The track we walked on was made muddy from lots of ground water and snow melt so it took no time at all for our pristine boots to look well used. By the end of the day all our clothes were looking dirty and well worn. We said goodbye to our first friend from the Camino, Debra after 16kms but we ventured on to complete 23.5 feeling very tired out after our minimal training regime. However neither of us are sporting any blisters so far and we hope it continues this way. We are certainly seeing lots of walkers with feet problems.
Our first night was spent at a wonderful community refugio run by a family. They encouraged allguests to join them for dinner and breakfast. There was no set charge for a bed, or the family meals, rather it was up to theguest to make a donation as they see fit. It was a marvellous experience being in their company at the dining table and as it was the first night they’ve set the ongoing mood for the group. This couple met on the Camino 6 years ago and said that at the end of the long walk it had changed them so much they wanted to give something back to all those walkers that followed. To that end they have set up the refugio as a place of warmth, generosity; inclusion and love for all that enter. They were so inspiring.
On the track we’ve met Finns, Brits, Canadians, Australians; Germans but most of all French. We have been walking in the Haute Loire region and not much English is spoken in this remote area. But we are getting by somehow – often thanks to the Germans who have such a command of both English and French. We feel envious of this wonderful skill they have to be understood in almost any western country. We wish that our children could be as fluent too!!!!
Pictures to come soon.
We have had many different sorts of sausage served along tbe ealk. This one was typical of Le Puy with tbeir ‘special’ sausage served with French Le Puy lentals.