Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 2 on the "Way" to St Flour

We set off from St Privat-Allier through a woods
We knew that this beauty has been viewed by our sisters for centuries

We came to a small chapel
The next day we set out for Monistrol D'Allier.  We planned to get there and take the train a little further on.  Again, the walk was spectacular- just strenuous enough to be challenging but not killing.

The companionship was wonderful
At the cafe, Peter came to our rescue
Many hills and valleys stretched our muscles
We got to Monistrol around noon.  We went to the train station to check out our options.  The sad news was that the train was out of commission for a two-month repair.  Bus service had also been severely cut back.  We looked around for information but options there were also limited.  It is a really small village with most shops closed. We headed to an open cafe, Le Pain Sucre.  There we learned from Patrick that our options were not good.  After struggling with our French, he went and got the owner who was from England.  He really encouraged us to walk on to Saugues, which he said was the most beautiful part we would walk.  We knew it was 14 more kilometers but once he said the first four were straight up, we knew we were too tired.  As we explored our options, Peter, the owner became rather intrigued by our walk to our roots.  After several minutes of trying to help us generate a solution, he suggested that he would drive us to St Flour the following morning for a very modest fee.  Again, he mentioned his disappointment that we would not see the beautiful countryside.  I said we could probably comfortably do 5 more kilometers but not 14.  Peter said that he had to go water his horses which were about 4.5 kilometers away at the top of the hill.  He suggested that we ride up with him and walk down.  As you will see from the pictures, it was a wonderful idea.

That evening, we stayed at Peter's bed and breakfast. It is called the "Le Repos du Pelerin."  We went to dinner in the attached restaurant and had the pilgrim's special which ended up being a gourmet three course meal for 16 euros.  It was among the best meals I have ever eaten.

That evening we talked about our journey so far, our walk and our lives.  We were filled with the beauty we had seen, the significance of walking where our sisters and pilgrims had walked for centuries, the moments we had shared, and all that brought us to be sitting together as three sisters of St Joseph.  We do not know each other well or long but we share a special bond.  We especially acknowledged the power of our committing to being flexible and letting this journey take us where it might.  Along the way, we received good advice and needed assistance from people who were total strangers to us.

Our desert that evening was an apple tart served in the shape of a shell, the symbol of the pilgrims on the way to Santiago.  As we prepared to leave the "Way to Santiago" and take our particular path to St Flour we were filled with excitement about what lay ahead.

1 comment:

  1. First of all...when do we get to hear about day 3? Second, and more important, I may not have hiked these paths, but I do resonate with your experience of walking where our earliest sisters walked. Each time I journey to this part of France, I KNOW in my DNA the deep connection to our roots. I've always said there is something in the earth and air that connects and energizes. Thank you for these reflections.