We were joined at Breakfast by 2 middle aged Germans whom we are seeing regularly now. We were waiting for the owner who was buying fresh bread so time to chat with these women and joke about getting into ‘moods’ on the track and how you deal with them. It’s probably the best time to be moody because there is a non conflictual solution – just slow down or speed up until you are sorted. We also talked about gite owners.

Most gite owners are warm, hospitable and sociable – but some can be a little difficult. We can usually tell this by raised eyebrows from residents when they are ordered around — “you can’t sit there”, “you’re too early”, “you can’t pay tonight”, “don’t put clothes on the heater” — this was one of them. There is another simple solution to this – just do as you’re told – not much to ask for when you’re paying 13 euros for a bed and bath.

A short 15 km stroll today – it was either that or 40 because of lodging locations so we didn’t need to hold a meeting to make that decision. We have a process that works for my deafness, Corrie’s quiet voice, or for any possible misinterpretation that could lead to conflict. If one of us has something important to say, especially if it is a controversial topic or just needing to get the attention of the other, we will say: “I’d like a meeting” – it works for us.

Another mixed landscape day, more cattle grazing territory in the hills, the valleys cropped and still different walking experiences but hard to explain because descriptions would be technical. We have been seeing a woman with an orange hat for days now but never seem to catch up with her and when we finally did, she didn’t want to talk, maybe having a hard day. Not many walkers in sight today so a chance to restart my voice exercises.

Still struggling to find a resting spot when we need one. We were on track to getting one today but did not realise a break for other things would affect our desire. 3 walkers then passed us, and later 2 of them had the only seat near a waterfall – nice spot, and the other had 1 of 2 seats near a cute creek. I was ahead of Corrie so sat in the spare seat and had a loving and deep connection with a local dog – a dog this friendly is a rare bonus. We left in envy of the perfect seat spots until, there it was, another bus shelter, not perfect, but it’s top shelf for us. Along a narrow road, through metre high grass and up into the hills led us to our lodging sign.

400m along a forest track, through a gate, into half metre high pastures where we followed a path only visible because the grass was recently trodden, until we saw a large house in the middle of the paddock. Didier, an engineer and Emmanuelle, a yoga teacher were minding the gite for friends and fussed over us. We had a pick of 3 rooms overlooking the village and its surrounding farm land, the promise of extra blankets; it’s starting to get very chilly as we close in on the mountain ranges.

No meal provided tonight and we won’t be walking to the village as it won’t be a walk in the park tomorrow. It will be the first night we cook for ourselves so we need to buy something from their ‘shop in a cupboard’ and do our own thing. They are expecting only 2 others tonight so we’ll check what they’re up to, and maybe have a small dinner party and invite the hosts!