The dinner party did not eventuate because the expected couple did not arrive. When you’re off the track in the middle of a paddock this can happen, because a walker may see a gite on the track and stay there. But a young Swiss girl turned up instead after a 40km walk, she wasn’t going to let a walk off the track worry her. We cooked pasta with a homemade tomato mix and ate with Evelyn with a beautiful view over the Pyrenees.

We talked about all the Swiss on the track and agreed they are the ones most likely to stay ahead of the pack. Evelyn said the Swiss are used to tough walks in the mountains but said it gets lonely when no-one can keep up. We talked with our lovely caretakers – Emanuelle and Didier about their desire to run a gite after years of walking. They have left their professional jobs for a more harmonious lifestyle. The real owner of this gite is away organising hundreds of people in planting fruit trees along the entire route for the pilgrims to eat.

After an early breakfast we 2-kissed Didier, 3-kissed Evelyn and 0-kissed Emanuelle because she was in her room dreaming about operating a gite. We walked through the paddock and onto the roadway (also the chemin) with Evelyn testing us early. At one stage I overtook her by nearly running so when people rave about her speed, I could say that I cruised past her at one time. We swapped ‘bon chemins’ and she roared off. We were on our own most of the day because others took an easier route (variation) – some often do this when they have a deadline or an extra long day.

We were fortunate though because it was a stunning walk up over pointed hills, along narrow ridges, through farms all the way within sight of the Pyrenees foothills. It’s also back down to 15 degrees so the shadeless pathways didn’t worry us and left the view open. A few steep hills were challenging but at the top lay our reward – views of the Pyrenees which we will sleep in tomorrow night having completed our official journey.

We will then spend time in Barcelona, so need to get to a big city to get transport. We will walk over the Pyrenees and into Spain and spend a couple of days walking to Pamplona to book our passage. After that we may go to Aix-en-Provence, possibly Lyon, visit Francoise in Tours, and maybe some opera and other things in Paris. But for now it’s rest time before returning for our third visit to the Saturday markets in St Jean Pied de Port.