Day 22: Moissac to Auvillar (20 kms)

Leaving by the Tam River

Today was Saturday, and it had a somewhat sleepy feel to it. Moissac stirred and tried to crack an eye open, but it just never got into full swing, at least not before we left at 9:00. We had originally planned to stay two days, and as such we booked a hotel room for two days. We wound up shortening our stay by a day, but stayed at the hotel anyhow. It was a very nice place, but oddly, in a very gritty neighborhood. The hotel was located close to the Tam river, so this morning we walked along its bank until we came to the canal where we picked up the GR65. The temp was about 56 F, with a light wind confronting us. The paved walkway (former towpath) alongside the canal was all under shade. The birds were chirping, the frogs were frogging around loudly, a few fisherman lingered expectantly over poles attached to the bank, a jogger or two passed by and then we saw a spaceship. At first I couldn’t sort out exactly what Robin and I were seeing. It was small, low to the ground, and very aerodynamic in form. It was moving along at quite a clip as well. As this conveyance weaved around a jogger, and drew abeam of us he suddenly popped open his canopy, revealing a recumbent bicycle in this torpedo like shroud, the pilot waived and snapped his canopy back down. This was his playful way of greeting (and surprising) people. It worked! Once the spaceship was behind us things quieted down, and Robin and I simply strolled along the canal, in the blissful shade, enjoying the quietude. This continued all the way to Pommevic, where we stopped for coffee. It was now 11:30. I had a feeling that this canal would not lead to the front door of our lodging for the night, and I was right. The absolutely perfect canal walk, gave way to a road walk in blazing sunshine to Espalais, and then on to Auvillar. This was flat, open farm land we we crossing. We dodged speeding teenagers, tried to walk on the grass, chugged water, and arrived at the entrance to Auvillar about 2:00. The arrival arrival point is low, and the village is high, so up we went. It was quite steep (quel surprise). This was not exactly the stately entrance we had envisioned, but arrive we did, ready for anything cold to drink. But, as it turned out, our Chambre d’Hôte was another 500m uphill from the village (I am always missing the fine green print in the Miam Miam book). 500 m doesn’t sound like much, but when it is a steep uphill, at day’s end, it is punishing. As always we had just enough fuel in the tank to make to the front door. We checked in, did the usual stuff, and with laundry flapping In the late afternoon sunshine, we headed (500 m) back into town for some shopping, beer sipping, and dinner. We are enjoying a late afternoon break out in front of the Baladin (on the main square), where many pilgrims seem to be booking in. We are checking our itinerary, and making room bookings further down the road, trying to stay 5 days ahead. So far, so good. Robin, is doing well walking with her pack, thank God. We are continuing to keep our day’s walking under 20 kms. Our hope is that by easing Robin back into regularly walking with her pack that by St. Jean Pied de Port she will be ready for the Norte, and eventually the Primitivo, with their longer stages. But, that is down the road, so for today we are very happy with our progress, and the fact that Robin’s leg is doing better. I can see some of our fellow travelers approaching so I will sign off for tonight. One final suggestion, always walk the canal out of Moissac, I can’t imagine why anyone would climb up into the hills when this splendid option is available. But, everyone has their own idea of how best to proceed. It all works. Either way you will get where you want to go. Ciào for now.

Starting out along the canal
Lock on the canal
Feeling the stress!
Life on the canal
The canal is now behind us
Robin meeting up with some Austrian friends
Welcome to Auvillar
Robin, home at last.

 

 

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