The town was just as impressive in the morning and I had slept well. Initially when I had arrived, there was no one else in the room. Later a cyclist called Marc had arrived and we chatted about his trip all the way from Germany. He was heading to Lisbon! I look forward to doing some cycle touring one day: faster than walking but slow enough to see and experience the countryside. His adventures sounded fascinating.
I left the town after buying some fruit for lunch in the local shop. Climbing again the country was green and pleasant. There were rolling fields and a few vines though it was mainly fruit and cattle country.
Soon I arrived at Saint Antoine du Pont d’Arratz. It was quiet and no one was around. I could not find any water. A few other pilgrims were visiting the church in the village. Other than the church the village consisted of a single small street with a cafe and a restaurant – both were closed but the chairs and tables remained outside. I took a ‘pew’ and had some lunch of bread and pate. I reminded myself often of what pleasure could be obtained from the simple act of walking in the country then eating simple food in a gentle sun.
The land was rolling and continued on to Flamarens. Just before the usual climb to this village, I heard a rustle and to my right saw a large snake disappearing into the undergrowth. A feeling of alertness followed and some relief as it wriggled away. In the village I was intrigued to find a ruined church with a cafe. The cafe was a loose collection of tables and umbrellas in an open area where the original church once stood. The end of the church remained. The man there was chatty and made some great coffee!
It had cooled and the country smells were intoxicating. The feet were good and the spirit too. In that mood it was easy to cover the distance. The Way passed into some deep woodland and for a few kilometres it was some of the most wonderful woodland I had ever experienced.
Emerging from the wood it was still four kilometres to Lectoure. As I passed a farm, the farmer emerged to chat and to wish me well on the walk. The Way descended again before the customary last steep hike up to the town of Lectoure. I went straight to the tourist office and obtained directions to the Halte Pelerin. The dormitory was full but the wonderful lady there gave me a room in the private part of the house where her relatives usually stayed when they visited. It was a luxury to have my own room after so many dormitories. Totally trusting she handed me keys for the building asking me to remember to leave them in the morning otherwise she would not get back into her own home! I was surprised to see Pascal again. He had decided to shave off all his hair – I didn’t recognise him at first in the garden!
That evening I went to the local PMU bar (bar and betting shop in France often with some great characters!) and watched the rugby final Perpignan Vs Clermont. Clermont won 19 to 6 but not before I had devoured 18 oysters and many prawns provided free of charge by the bar owner!