Le Puy to Condom - Day  22
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La Romieu to Condom - 16k

The TV girl with the winning smile etc. comes up with the goods at last, it’s a lovely morning.

The bad news is that the first two thirds of my way to the lunch stop at Condom are road.

I realised that  I am walking very slowly and now in pain rather than discomfort. I head into town to find the tourist office, where they fix me up with a list of Doctors…the nearest only 5 doors away.

Exactly 30 minutes later I was ushered into the doctor’s presence. The bottom line was I required at least five days not walking and I could either watch French TV or English TV…a good point I thought. ..all for 20 Euros.

I was surprised my fitness didn’t seem to improve (although I am sure it did; I had done a lot of hill walking before I left ) but fatigue became a factor with any walk over 30k. I must have been doing some exercise as I lost 6lbs in 20 days in spite of a lot of good food .

To return to my decision on the day, it was made for me, my original plan was to fly out on the 5th May; this would only give me another two days walking if I rested for 5 days. The right decision was to go home.

As it was now noon and everything was shutting for lunch I sat by the river next door to the Church of Saint Jacoues and ate my lunch with the tasteless cheese, and felt very, very, frustrated. I had completed 508k’s of my planned 730k….70%. But this looked a good place to restart the journey sometime in the future.

After lunch I walked to a cyber café and with a lot of good natured help from the staff I worked out a way home. Toulouse was the easiest & cheapest route. Also it had a flight at 9pm which allowed me all day to get there.

As I pressed the ‘commit’ button on my flight home I knew I had done just that…committed myself to going home. I wandered back into town & was booking into the Gîte (a converted old school) when Elisabeth arrives in the office.

She is planning to have a day off in Condom. I tell her my sad news I tell her a beer is required. She has been a good friend and by accident popping up at the right time to have a beer or a chat.

We share a room with eight other people including a pair of overweight snorers (and for the record the worst of ‘em was a woman), the worst night ever in a Gîte.

I leave early the next morning, feeling very sad, having been welcomed and looked after by the French locals, met a lot of great people, enjoyed a variety of new scenery, eaten a lot of good food, drunk some great wine and questionable beer.

Was it enjoyable? ….most of the time yes, but not all the time, I never expected it to be. There were times when you were very tired at the end of the day standing in a path of mud when you just wanted it to stop, but these moments were in the minority.


Was it a great experience? …yes, absolutely fantastic, I can’t wait to get back and start stage two next year. 

Footnote...e mail sent on my arrival home>>>

 

Question… What was the second most important flight from Toulouse Airport on the 27th April.

Answer…The maiden flight of the Airbus 380…
(see picture above taken from Toulouse main square)

Sadly the most important flight was Easyjet  5338 from Toulouse to Gatwick which took me home.

Report to follow on the last half of the trip to follow …..a great experience, I met some lovely people saw some great sights, ate some fantastic food & had a good journey …

 I am now looking forward to finishing off the journey sometime in the future.

Andrew