Cahors was a pleasant town consisting of the old town and its modern suburbs. With a population of about 25000 it is not large. The old town and Cathedral are impressive and worth visiting.
I knew the general direction out of town to continue on the way. After a short time I found the familiar white and red way markers and followed them along the river to the Pont Valentré. Its an impressive structure and was completed in 1378 after a lot of technical difficulties. It is known as one of the Devil’s Bridges in folk legend. The mason despaired at finishing the bridge so he sold his soul to the devil in return for its successful completion. There is a small statue of the devil on one of the towers.
There had been an exhibition on the bridge for the last few days. I could see workmen were dismantling the displays as I got nearer. The bridge was closed. However when I approached I was allowed to cross. Apparently the tourist office had been upset that pilgrims could not cross and we now had a dispensation!
What followed was a very short but very steep climb up a virtual cliff face to the large Cross of Magne at the top. The climb was tricky with steps and handrails to help. Not long after I stopped at a good gite called Domaine des Mathieux. I asked for a coffee and was told to help myself to the freshly brewed coffee at no charge. I also checked email for a while and found it hard to leave the generous hospitality. They even gave me a container with some meat and wild rice for lunch!
I had only completed four kilometres. After leaving the gite I thought about returning to its comfort and having a lazy day. As I sat eating the rice and meat at the bottom of the hill I wrestled with that idea but decided to continued on.
Though it was easy walking it was becoming very hot and a few rests were required before arriving in Lescabanes. There were only two gites in the village and both were full. In one the lady said I could sleep in the garden. I had a tarp and bivi bag so it would not be a problem. Later we all had a fabulous pilgrim meal and some good wine in the gite.
After dinner the sky was looking very dark. The host said that there was a severe storm warning being broadcast on the radio and if it became too wet I could sleep on the sofa bed in the dining room. The guests retired at about 9.30 and I went to the garden. Within thirty minutes the storm arrived. The changing colours of the sky were fantastic and it was indeed a massive a storm. The garden table and chairs suddenly flew three metres into the air (as did the tent) as a microburst swept through the village. I just managed to get everything indoors before the torrential rain started.
The lights flickered and finally everything in the gite went dark. A few lightning strikes later, the fire alarm system started to blare its warning. I checked but there seemed to be no fire. It took me over thirty minutes using the head torch before I could work out how to silence the fire alarm system. Eventually tranquil sleep followed in the dining room to the sound of the departing rain and thunder.