Meeting with our friends was wonderful, and useful, seeing they both speak French, especially when you’re dining 5 star at La dinee du Viguier where your coats are taken (but given back), where your meals are described to you in detail by 2 waiters who arrive with all the plates at the same time, where only the men are given the menu with the prices on, and where you sit 4 people at a table that could easily fit 8. This was the restaurant that our friend Gordon ‘had’ to take us to. It was superb, even the bread rolls were a dish in themselves. We talked about deep and meaningful things, the chemin of course and bits and pieces from home – very special – very entertaining and very expensive. Forget Paris with 2 kisses and the villages with 3, it was hugs for us and good walking.

Yet another steep kilometre long climb tested our digestive capacity as we begun a nearly 30km walk because of necessity – distances between accommodating villages. Not a good start. We missed a ‘chemin marker’ and walked an extra kilometre following the ‘chemin signs’ but an alternative route!! We were walking towards ‘old sol’ when we should have had him/her at our back. I knocked on doors but no-one seems to live in their homes. I stopped cars – the French don’t mind where they stop – middle of the road, on steep hills, even on roundabouts, but that was as good as knocking on French doors.

So we went back to where we believed the ‘mistake place’ was and the sign had all but vanished. Off again and all was stunning countryside – lush rolling hills, narrow stone lanes, Iris flanked paths through villages, tree tunnel paths through the forest and long flat grasslands by the river until the village of Bedeua. There was an alternative path that we didn’t want to take but we took because we’ve just followed the ‘chemin sign’ since we started back in Le Puy.

We entered the land of fairies – long thin bending branches with bearded moss hanging down, rocks of all sizes dressed in the same attire, and Goblins all wearing…. nah, no Goblins. All of this draping down to the rivers edge along narrow curvy, up and down paths. We thought we were in heaven but I thought we’d better check because we hadn’t been there before. So I asked a French couple who were coming towards us, if we were on the right track. They checked our home for tonight and apologetically told us we would not arrive for a good half day – it was 5.15, we had walked nearly 30 kms and that alternative path was the wrong one.

Corrie began to weep, I fell to my knees and grasped the man’s leg, told them that le sac was in the village we were heading for, and that we’d have to kill ourselves if we couldn’t reunite with le sac tonight. They didn’t witness any of the above but she said anyway, that they had a car and would drive us to our new home. It ‘was’ heaven and they were our guardian angels. We’re about to sit at the table with our 8 new friends for dinner.