Saterday January 3rd Astier Officially 25 km

Having a drink in a cafeteria, socializing with the boss and his wife


Chateau Puyferrat, my pilgrims home for E 15

Before being on the run, I usually need, believe it or not, 1.5 hours from the alarm until the final moment of leaving. That as opposed to normal working at home. Then I can make it, if necessary, within 15 minutes. Today we left at 8.45 am. I have a book with directions, but there are numerous ambiguities, eg. The 3rd path left in the forest. What do you call a path? I did a lot of walking with the GPS, but I’m not really convenient in operating it. And then en route the batteries run empty again etc. Many mistakes, drifting through the interior of France and through forests. All-day rain. Beautiful villages. I now walk in different shoes. Result: incipient blisters. Which is not really pleasant.
At one point I walked on such a busy road again. Just to be safe I’d rather walk outside the guardrail, in a wet, sloping way side, until my way was blocked by a creek? Oh no, the roadside stopped, the guardrail continued onto and across the bridge and I had to return 400 m. back in the wet grass. That was not very nice, because it takes time again, but much worse was that an ambulance with siren came speeding our direction. So Leon got crazy and ran away, high speed, with all the luggage on his back. I quietly went after him, what else could I do? Again I had a guardian angel. About one km. further, on the other side of the busy road, some kind man had caught and held Leon. While I took over Leon a car stopped and an angry bitch told me that she thought it necessary to call the gendarmes, because I endangered the traffic. Stupid. I continue my trip, through a different path, assuming les gendarmes wouldn’t find me any more. But imagine my surprise when, after 30 min. I still was detected by the cops, in the very crowded marketplace of Mussidan, where I could not find the way again. You can see that there is nothing wrong, I clarified the cops. Even here in the middle of this busy marketplace my horse and dog are relaxed. Everything under control. A tame horse, good dog, pilgrim, storm in a glass of water. The gendarmes agreed and I, and probably Leon and Tosca, had fun, and finally they wanted, the gendarmes, with me in the picture.
Along the way Leon didn’t walk well. If Leon walks so slowly we’ll never arrive before dark. He can not be that tired? It appeared he had lost two horseshoes, a 3rd one hung loose. Therefore I took that horse shoe off with a pair of pincers. It was very dark in the wood and it was very hard to find the castle where I was going to stay overnight. Moreover because of the maneuver of Leon with the ambulance I lost my thermos, but what was worse: also my glasses. So I could hardly read the GPS, nor my route book, nor the phone, neither the addresses where to go tonight or the coming days. Hopeless. Depressed mood.                                                                  Eventually, I managed to reach into a pitch-dark forest at Chateau Puyferrat. Beautiful. The administrator of the castle lived next to the castle in a simple barnhouse on the second floor. Horse stables were at the ground floor. That night he had organized a New Year’s party with his friends, of course in the castle and of course with lots of good food and drinks: oysters, champagne, a few dogs running around the tables. Just like a middle aged Breughel bachus-orgy painting. I was allowed to join. I talked about my trip, my setbacks, such as the lost glasses and within a few minutes one of them gave me a new pair of reading glasses for E 10. I reimbursed him the cheap Hema price and we were happy together, especially I was. Moreover, now I had glitzy gold glasses instead of such black grave diggers color, although the latter was perhaps grander. Such fancy spectacles do fit me well, dressed in my current togs.                                                                                    My sleeping appartment was great, including a tower room. Contemporary luxury, and that for only 15 E. The only minor thing about this stay: the castle kitchen was like in the 1600s. But I managed. The animals were cared for well, Leon in a real barn full of hay, Tosca was with him on a couple of old seat cushions. The stables were below the residence of the castle administrator. In the stables I had wifi, so I finally publish the blogs of the past few days, sitting on the hay in the stable. Too late to bed. Before going to sleep I called for shelters for the rest of the week. Called for tomorrow (Sunday) in Périgueux, the day after tomorrow (Monday) in Sorges, Tuesday Thiviers. If I may, I’d love a day off there. I also hope to be in Thiviers wednesday night. I still have to find something for Thursday at La Coquille, for Friday night in Flavignac, for Saturday night in Limoges. But maybe I’ll pass around the big city of Limoges instead of following the route Saint Jaques right through the city. Remains to be seen yet. The last few days I became a little desolated. Now I’m hopeful again.


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