Enter L’Hexagone

Sonia has pointed out I didn’t give my rabbit and snails a critique: it was OK. There’s not a lot of meat on a rabbit, and less than that on a half rabbit, but they made up for it with extra snails and some bree. No fancy snail kit here: a few cocktail sticks and that was it. All the meals so far on the trip have been good but – in most cases – a bit on the slight side.

Yesterday’s blog didn’t mention the chap I met coming the other way. ‘Buen día’, said I. ‘Hello’ was the brief reply in a definitely English voice. This was a guy of about my age, brown as a nut, heavily bearded, in the shortest pair of shorts and covered in tatoos which were not restricted to the usual blue, black etc. I didn’t like to accost him further as he strode past and I didn’t stare too much at his graphic embellishments. He seemed an interesting fellow.

There’s a group of 4 Australians, two of whom are doing exactly the same trip as me, that I see at each overnight stop. At breakfast this morning, one of them asked me ‘Did you see Brian yesterday?’ After a moment, I remembered that guy. It turns out they had stopped him and he’s famous – an English woman at breakfast got quite excited, having narrowly missed him on a previous trek somewhere. Let me explain.

Brian Johnson is a writer for Cicerone Guides, amongst other things. Having retired early from teaching, he walks, treks and writes constantly. The tatoos are maps of the treks he’s done: it’s worth taking a minute to go to http://www.cicerone.co.uk/author/detail.cfm/author/1373/name/brian-johnson and read the brief biography. It’ll either inspire you or make you feel tired!

Oh and the very short shorts were just a loin cloth!

Today was billed as a rest day. This is a fairly short trip and I want to get as much walking out of it as possible, so I decided to go to France for the day. I *think* I got there: the route was poorly marked in places and eventually, once out of a narrow river valley, I just struck out on my own up an empty hillside. It was quite hot today and the outward leg of the walk was all uphill, so my glasses round my neck became opaque with sweat, making it very difficult to read the gps: navigation wasn’t a problem as all I had to do was reach the ridge, thus upwards was always right! Anyway, I reached the ridge and think I entered France, but it wasn’t much different from Spain, so it was hard to tell as I couldn’t read the gps!

Returning was back by the same route: a poorly marked trail that seemed to have a thing with crossing rivers: I had to cross the same stream 24 times each way. I know ‘cos I counted on the way down. Again, I was quite pleased with my time: despite getting lost a few times on the way up, I reached France (I think!) inside the predicted time and absolutely nailed it on the way back.

As a non-meteorologist, my comments on mountain weather should be taken with a pinch of salt, but my impression is that in summer conditions in mountainous areas (Alps, Corsica, Picos de Europa, Pyrenees) the mornings are clear and sunny and the afternoons tend to cloud with storms. Yesterday’s thunder came to nothing, and today looks as though it might go the same way. Poor mushroom hunters: they’ll never get their rain.

Call me unadventurous, but I’ve decided to eat in the hotel again. Last night’s was fine and at least I know the routine and informed la patrona before I went to France. One of the advantages is that the hotel starts serving at 7:30 – some places don’t get going for at least another hour. So, it’s 15 minutes and counting. I’ll probably report back tomorrow.

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One response to “Enter L’Hexagone

  1. Incidentally, since I’m name dropping, Andy Hamilton was on my flight to Gatwick. But I’m not boasting!

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