Le Chemin de St. Jacques – Historic Villages

Lechemin7-top of Aubrac

We’ve long left the Aubrac region on Le Chemin de St. Jacques. The height of the plateau was about 4,320 feet, depending on how many decimal places you use for your conversion from meters to feet. From this high point (see above), we’ve made our way down to less than 1,500 feet. It’s hotter and drier in the middle of the day.

Some things haven’t changed in the last fifty years in France.LeChemin8-old toilet

The toilets are temperamental and all different—the same with showers. OK. The toilet on the left where you place your two feet and squat is old but we’ve seen and used them several times.

There’s only one right way to do things and that’s the French way. The customer is not always right. And in small villages, all the stores closes at about 12:30 or one o’clock and don’t reopen until 3 pm or so.

LeChemin8-St. Come-D'olt

We reached St. Come d’Olt in the Aveyron region, voted one of the most beautiful villages in France.

The village on the Lot River has 1,416 residents who live in and around an old city with fortified walls and three gates.

The street signs are in Occident as well as French. Occident was an ancient language, closer to Spanish than French, spoken by people in the region. When France created public schools, everyone had to learn French and this traditional language almost died. Now, they’re trying to revive it.

LeChemin7-real pelerinWe’ve stayed in Le Couvent de Malet, a convent run by the Ursuline nuns, now mostly old and retired. The rooms in the convent were modernized for pilgrims and tourists; they’re large and very comfortable. The nuns plan to live self-sufficiently and have large gardens, orchards, and farm animals. They make their own wine.

Here’s Lenny posing with a statue of a medieval pilgrim. The statue is wearing a long, flowing garment, sandals and carrying a staff, a shell and a bible. No water, pack or food. He’s depending on kindness on the trail.

But old habits die hard. The cafeteria-style meals are organized so that no one takes more than their share. The gardens are bountiful right now. I saw a nun pick beautiful, red tomatoes but we were served pork slices, cheap industrialized food, and rice. We’ve yet to see a pig anywhere but iced in a bakery shop.

Finally Wi-Fi (Wee Fee, in French)       

 

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