Thursday, April 19, 2018

GR653 Via Tolosana Day 3: Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert - Saint-Jean-de-la-Blaquiere

 Day 3: Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert - Saint-Jean-de-la-Blaquiere
24.5 km
Total elevation gain 1000 m

Our room in the Club Alpin gîte was cosy to say the least, but we slept well and set off full of energy and ready for a steep climb. Within minutes we were high up above the village in the mountains. The rocky ground, low scrub and scents of thyme and rosemary reminded me of my hike in Crete last May.

Copains de chemin - They proceed like us, in single file. But how does the first one know which way to go?

After descending into the valley past the castle of Montpeyroux and proceeding, by a cruelly winding and indirect route, to the town of Arboras, we discovered to our consternation that we were expected to climb up almost as high again before descending to our resting place for the evening!

We were so high up we could see the Pyrenees! 

Crossing the river coming into Saint-Jean-de-la-Blaquiere

It was very crowded at the Gîte Comunal - ten pilgrims all sharing the same two bedrooms, two bathrooms and one kitchen. All stepping over each other's backpacks and knocking over each other's poles... Such a change after the isolation of the route from the French border to Montpellier that I walked in October! The accommodations were very simple and there was no cell phone coverage or internet... for the second night in a row! Which is why I am writing this blog from our next stop, Lodève. But, as the saying goes: 
"Le pélerin non exige, le pèlerin remerci!"

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