Our first night in an Abbey. The 60 or so of us sat at 8 tables of about 8. Our table had a close knit group so Corrie and I just imagined what they were saying and had our own little conversation as though we were part of theirs. Dinner over, and because they were so helpful to our needs, the least we could do was go to their church service. The angelic sound of one of the young priest’s voice was enough for us to be happy to be there, and it is good for my speech therapy to sing. We didn’t know the words, so imagined them as well in this delightful chant.

As we left for another climb up our ‘spiral hill’, Evelyne (volunteer) who had been meeting our needs so tirelessly, noticed the ‘walking for Parkinson’s’ sign on my back and wanted the blog – a few people are slowly enquiring about our walk.

Breakfast at 7.00 is the norm but on request they allowed us in early. The 2 Danish women also appeared for an early breakfast and we set off at about the same time. Their long legs soon had them out of sight, as a few others including a German man and our 3 French friends, one after the other overtook us, but not before we had poled ourselves up a kilometre out of the valley of the fairytale Conques. Pockets of mist floated between these ancient houses as we climbed, the streets unusually people free, so a real feeling of the 11th century echoed through our minds.

Onto the top of the first hill once again looking out onto the luscious fields and multiple dairies above the Lot valley, our familiar residents are there. The usual small gathering of charolais cattle; a few horses; a couple of goats; 4 terrifying dogs (behind a fence), many others quiet or friendly, 1 asleep on the road, 3 mules and 1 coffee shop in the back of someone’s shed (the tractor now stays out in the weather) were our sightings for the day. Out of the French woods and fields of wheat are beginning to appear, their final product spread across our table tops at every meal in all their varied shapes and sizes. The produce for the wines that are at every afternoon meal have not yet appeared, obviously not conducive to this environment or as profitable as other products.

We eventually start a hilly walk down to see river Lot once again, and nurse our aching bodies up into the village of Livinhac which seems (I’m sure it’s not) so ordinary after ‘Conques and friends’ have enchanted us. Martine told us to ring when we got to town so she could drive from her little ‘chambres’ in the countryside to collect us. We hope she will also take us back to the ‘chemin’ in the morning as I imagine our Portuguese and Spanish guests hope also.