Le Puy to Condom - Day  8
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Conques

Golinhac to Conques - 22k

I slept fitfully and I think everyone in the room got up in the middle of the night. I am fed up of being surrounded by the smell of sweaty socks, .....the bad news is the socks....and smell  are mine!

Even when they are washed they are disgusting. The Camembert is now three days old and I have to say that the socks are firmly in the lead on the stink stakes. I think there is something bad emanating from my trainers.

I had the time of breakfast wrong by half an hour, it was still dark but there was a colourful sunrise. I was joined by two Frenchmen,  these two gents had a lively sense of humour and on my suggestion we stopped the bakers van to buy croissants to ‘keep us going’ There then followed a photo shoot, with croissants & sunrise.

At breakfast I joined two girls who had noticed me talking English the night before. Veronique is French, but her English was excellent having spent 6 years in UK at university and then with a French bank in UK. Elisabeth is German, retired from a senior position in the German Employment system, her English came from spending 2 years in England a number of years ago. Both had a lively sense of humour and I was pleased to join them on the route.

We stopped for coffee at Espeyrac sitting on a sunny terrace overlooking a valley of fields. Spring had suddenly arrived with blossom and all that sort of good stuff, you were also aware of just a few trees greening up.

We struggled on for another 4k to Senergues for a pleasant lunch on another terrace by the local Gîte, once again looking over another valley.

The day was also a big change for me as it was 30% shorter than I was used to, so it was a pleasant to lose the ‘onwards’ bit from my life. Something I needed to think about for the future of this walk.

Eventually we come to Conques, all the people I meet talk about what a special place it is ….and they are right. First of all it is very small, but has clung to the hill side ever since a hermit found the place in the 8C…The current Abbey dates from the 11C & is a beautiful simple design

The history of the Abbey is like the history of Europe…. varied. For a time even the Calvinists managed to get their paws on it. The place came to prominence when one of the monks stole the remains of St Foy (Saint Faith) from another abbey. After that the popularity of the place took off.

I fortunately had my own room as the socks & Camenbert were now working together to form a lethal gas. Seeking guidance from my new friends Veronique suggested a pharmacist might be able to help.

After a quick shower I drew one of the two sketches of the trip from the chapel of St Foy on a hill in the distance. Sitting in the pleasant evening sun light a peaceful moment on a pleasant day.

I met the team again for dinner, which was a fish terrine, followed by a Sheppard's pie with  by an Apple flan desert


After this I went to bed I thought it had been a very enjoyable day, great company, pleasant weather, arrival at a special place.