Final instructions from Sylvie – how to lock the main door, where to leave the key, the best way to join the track, led to more discoveries about our rafter room. Our fascinating lodgings are the remains of a castle, the leftovers from ‘looters’ during the French Revolution of 1789. In contempt of the regime of the time and because they could, people took stones from castles to build their own homes – this was one of those castles. Maybe, just maybe, that is where the term – ‘your home is your castle’ comes from. I can’t remember a time when I simply lay in bed not wanting to sleep – looking at the heavy beams above like a wooden web – at the same time glancing down at the lounge area through the railing in front and marveling at the solid stone walls all around. I awoke, not really wanting to leave but we had miles to go before….

The full moon lit the pre dawn sky and watched us through the oak trees, around the stone houses and cast shadows before us as we strode out to make good use of the quiet cool, while our energy levels were full from the night’s rest, and to get a few kms under our boots.
No villages all day we had been told so we had a break on the side of the track up against a tree, ‘bon chemin’ing’ a few walkers as they went past at different speeds depending on the state of their bodies.

On the move again and past 2 friendly French men, Corrie a little behind me found their pace a little more conducive and stayed with them awhile -they were doing a 10 day stint and finishing tomorrow. As she moved up to join me gathering clouds started to sweat a little and, alas, we had earlier removed our rain gear. Before it got too heavy the Lot Department supplied us with a sheltered bus stop just before a massive mob of sheep bleat us… it. We changed and handed our ‘Lot change room’ over to 3 French women who were also unprepared.

Slight rises and falls made it an easy walk today and we know that the really hard stuff is behind us and our bodies are doing well. We passed 4 French women on a rare downhill slope, one of them walking backwards because her knee refused to do it the right way. This decline was part of a long final stretch into the commune of Cahors which lies in a wide valley where the river Lot does a u-turn around its inhabitants. Our lodgings are three stories up a wide spiral of stairs in a large room in a rustic run down part of the old city. No tourist would, I imagine, wander these lived-in streets that refuse to join the rampant renovators race.

Pierre is our landlord and what a character he seems to be – welcoming, engaging and with a few local generations responsible for his being here. We chatted for awhile as he told us about the many Australians that have also struggled up his stairs. We’ll spend 2 nights here, as this ‘commune of Cahors’ suggests there are good reasons to, and, I see poppies!