Per Ardua ad Astra


Today’s walk was 28k and, at least at the start, had a fair amount of up. The weather was simply great: sun, a light (totally undisagreeable) wind and a wide blue sky.

Our night in the gite at Pont de Monvert was comfortable. The gite is communal, run by the council and only briefly manned (or womanned) for an hour or so at 4:30. It formed part of an Ecomuseum, which we decided to give a miss to. A Canadian couple were also staying there. The gite has cooking facilities, but does not serve meals, so we ate our evening meal in a local hotel / restaurant and had our breakfast in a bar (no alcohol involved in the latter!) We had hoped to go to the “Mozbert”-sounding “Enchanted trout” restaurant, but it was fully booked.

We headed out this morning apparently not far behind a walker with a donkey, but never saw him or it again. We did, however, spot a couple, apparently the Canadians, whom we greeted in colloquial English, only to discover we were speaking to two bemused French walkers. By that stage it seemed too late to rectify the situation, so we scurried away. How we laughed!

The climb out of the village was steep and lengthy, though the path was fine and we made good progress as the sun rose higher. After a lovely walk along a gentle summit ridge, we dropped down to a road where we bumped into the real Canadians. They were apparently cheating and following the tarmac, which meant no views, no sun, a bit of traffic and a much less inspiring walk. Admittedly they were carrying all their stuff, but that didn’t seem to amount to a huge weight and they missed out on a superb walk in lovely conditions.

On the way we saw a few folk collecting mushrooms and chestnuts, but for most of the time we were completely on our own with magnificent views, as for much of the day we hugged the higher slopes.

On and off, we stopped to eat: we had bought pains aux raisins and tartelettes aux myrtilles before we hit the road.  Nevertheless, we were tired and a little footsore by the time we reached our destination.

Florac is not just reputedly one of the prettiest towns in France, it also – according to RLS – is famed for the beauty of its women. So far, Laurie and I have been rather unimpressed, however. Probably the only potential candidate is the lady who runs our hotel. From the outside it looked very down at heel in a narrow street of dusty and closed doors. We gave up and went for a cold beer. When we got back, we were able to gain entry and our charming hostess showed us to a quaint, but lovely, spacious bedroom with a capacious shower / toilet en suite. Going to the loo in the night will be easy as there is a distinct slope on the floor, but getting back to bed might be easier with walking poles.

We have two nights here as tomorrow (Saturday) we have a “rest day”. I use that term loosely as Laurie has booked a morning’s speleologie (pot-holing) and an afternoon’s via ferrata (rock-climbing on a wire). Assuming we survive these daredevil activities, I’ll be back tomorrow.


One response to “Per Ardua ad Astra

  1. Good luck for tomorrow. Hope you get dry weather. S

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