I’d have taken a photo of the main duck course, but the couple beside us opened up a dialogue that ran through the entire meal. They were celebrating his birthday and told us that we were fortunate to get into the best restaurant in town. I told them that we knew people. They went on to tell us that each summer a world famous jazz festival is held in Marsiac with all the greats having attended over time. We had no idea, except that that I’d read about it in our guide, but basically ignored it as the warning to Pelerins was about not being able to get a bed very easily at that time. Our host at the gîte confirmed with us this morning that it is a big deal and that he hosts 200 people on his property while the festival is on the first two weeks of August. We told him that we weren’t big jazz folks, and his reply was that Canadians seldom come:). Perhaps my friend Karen would like to show up for this, if she’s following our blog.
In any event, our nouveau friends at the next table went on to tell us that Marsiac was one of the first places in France to be designed with a street grid plan and that the church has the highest spire in Gers. I had done my reading and was aware, but they told us things so much better with their nice French accent. They also told us about the local and federal politics, always of keen interest when I’m travelling. Seems it’s the same everywhere, new politicians making old mistakes. It turns out that they also knew Edna! She’s famous!!
We went back out into the pouring rain and walked back to our gîte where we were actually quite pleased to have it to ourselves. Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of space!
This morning we woke to find the rain had slowed and after breakfast we headed off with most of our rain gear on or within easy access. Good thing too as we hit the first squall just out of town. We hiked the first hill and as we descended the other side we had our concerns about the heavy mud confirmed. Fortunately our host had told us about a road route to follow which would keep us out of the worst of the mud. Hey and guess what? He knows Edna too!!
When we arrived at the deviation the rain again to pour so we waited it out in a small bus shelter.
We felt pretty fortunate that we decided not to take a rest day in Auch otherwise we would have had to walk the 32 kms that we walked yesterday today. Yup, we both felt better then.
Out into the rain we went and finally we reached Moubourguet and surprisingly found a bread store and a small grocery still open at 12:00, on a Sunday no less?! We picked up groceries for the next two days as we will be pretty isolated tomorrow night at a Gite Communal and without wifi. Will post the stage the next day. Here’s a photo of all the food I’ve been carrying. Must be well over a kilo there. Can’t wait to eat it all and get my pack weight down further!
The locals in town seemed to find our wet gear and us a bit amusing,
but they quickly directed us to a small pizza restaurant that was open where we were able to share a really good pizza and rest ourselves. One lady even stopped her car to direct us and then greeted us at the restaurant. The whole restaurant crowd then became involved in directing us towards our gîte a couple of kms out of town. Endless confusion and fun.
Finally understanding the directions and turning down the offer of a ride, we headed off to find our home for tonight.
Tomorrow we understand that it will warm to 18 and be a bit better weather wise with temperatures moving back up into the high 20’s again through the week. Looking ahead it seems that tentatively next Saturday will be a good window to cross the Pyrenees, but Sunday is looking wet again on the French side, so we plan to push through in order to enjoy the beauty of the mountains as we cross. The pass is quite a bit higher than the Napoleon on the Camino Frances, so I’m excited for what lies ahead. Fingers crossed for fair weather and smooth sailing.
When “easy” is a little bit harder: Today was a short, and mostly flat stage, an easy day. Our host last night even gave us a shortcut. We arrived into town just around noon, before closures due to Sunday hours. We were even able to get a hot lunch (pizza)...generally an easy day. But is was complicated by the rain...extra layers to wear, making it difficult to access the guidebook, and of course the discomfort of being wet, despite our high quality rain gear (actually Geoff was dry). When we arrived at our home for the night, there was no place to hang our wet gear to dry. Our hosts weren’t home when we got here, and we didn’t know the wifi code. When they arrived, the wifi code didn’t work, and it took about 45 minutes to resolve the problem. We had expected to use our extra time today to be able to sort out accommodations and make connections we weren’t able to make yesterday, but none of this is possible without wifi. For people in the early stage of Alzheimer’s (and their caregivers) this is an everyday experience; what was once easy is now a little more complicated. Experiences and events they could previously easily accomplish are now in some way more difficult. These are the early indicators, and as the disease progresses so does the difficulty of every day tasks.