We crept out of the ancient town as Le Puy slept, its lanterns bringing the cobblestones to life, their worn surfaces telling us of times gone by. Up into the surrounding hills leaving behind echoes of the past, along narrow pathways teetering on the yellow and white bracken covered hillside, and up eroded rocky crevices onto level ground. No soul, just us, the stillness and intermittent warmth from above and a cuckoo bird, our only companions until we met Sylvian going the other way. A friendly engaging French girl she travels parts of the chemin (way) as she gets a chance.

A silent cafe bar had breakfast ready and soon the fine aromas broke the silence as they brought more walkers to their tables. We chatted with an Austrian girl learning the hard way – carrying a 12kg backpack full of ‘necessities’. We hope she takes our advice that she has many ‘luxuries’, and lightens her load or her road will be briefly travelled. A gradual uphill path opened up in front of us towards a steep rocky hill trail where large pine forests have laid a path of needles. The slope down to our nights resting place became rockier, with crevices becoming deeper, wetter, and we slower, as our need for self preservation governed our every move.

A Korean couple’s small cart was not built for preservation, its axle taking a different path to the main body. The Korean man seemed to be getting no satisfactory answers from the half axle he held as he informed me he would be ok. We continued on, giving great respect to ‘our’ axles, protected with our faithful walking poles. We crossed narrow creeks and soon arrived at our 4 bed – room, where we will sleep with a French boy and pray he’s not old enough to snore.