My apologies to the pig, her name is Raquel named after someone whose closest identity to a pig would be eating a ham sandwich. Raquel did not eat with us, our French friend (who we see a lot), and Glen, but lay asleep in her basket wrapped in a rug.

To get into the French ‘system’, ie being able to be free to do what French citizens can do eg. be on the local council etc., you must have a title. Glen does building work, demolition jobs and gardening amongst others, but gives his occupation as a gardener so he’s in the system, and he also speaks French. Nadia, a French Algerian, the other resident, plays a leading role in the Alsace education system. Her responsibilities mean she is on a tight schedule so we hope her present illness doesn’t prevent her from walking, and, we still have a lot to talk about.

We left in the rain, and because most of the tracks are on the flat, low down or along ridges, and the steep mountains are accessed by wide relatively even paths, the going is little different than having it dry. After 3 hours we stopped for coffee. When there are long periods of walking without a cafe, just about everyone stops so a good chance to chat with others. It was one of those ‘no food places’ but they had bought a lot of fresh bread which is often all that walkers need, because most carry fillings. We said a few words to the 2 German women and chatted longer with a Bordeaux farmer. He looked up at the grey clouds and told me there would be no more rain, maybe just a little. I didn’t agree.

I’ve noticed the care that is taken on the steeper countryside where small valleys and hills are heavily vegetated which is not only ascetically pleasing but also prevents erosion. We had lunch on a high ridge on the edge of a freshly plowed paddock, as usual not ideal, but it was comfortable as there was a little high ground there. But we did have a great view. The ghostly outline of the mighty Pyrenees could be seen through the thin veil of the distant grey screen, not far away now, but it has been snowing and therefore the track across it could be closed, we hope not. Rain interrupted our thoughts and view, so we finished our cheese and banana rolls on the move.

While we are always looking for a lunch seat, the French are quite happy to sit on the grass just off the track to have their dejeuner. We often see them in groups but single souls and couples can also be seen around 1230. Most of them don’t seem to be in a hurry, with only a few travelling at more than 4kms an hour.

Down onto the flats once more and into a large town. In the centre of this pretty town, in a narrow old town street, is our new abode. Too many for dinner tonight so we’ll have to find a place in town. It’s like a night out because we have been eating in the gites a lot lately. It also gives us a chance to explore a little and who knows what we may find. The weather is also fairly rain free so easier to explore – and, the Bordeaux farmer was right!