…and on a high plateau in volcanic country. After an exhilarating ascent from Le Puy, I struck my first difficulty: wind.
This photo of the wonderfully characteristic church in St. Christophe may seem tranquil, but it was the only snap I could manage for most of day one. The wind had been so strong along a ravine that I was obliged to crawl. Fortunately, the direction of the blast had been toward the shoulder rather than the steep drop.
I met two future friends, Marie-Claude and Marc, in the square of this town, but at first we could hardly communicate: Quebec accents in a howling gale can be real conversation killers. (I was to learn that in québecois, as in Scandinavian tongues, a short “a” is hardened when followed by an “r”. The exact opposite applies in Aussie English: so for some time I thought Marc was “Mack”.)
Together, we shared a meal and accommodation in our first gîte d’étape, this one called L’Escole, because the building had once been a school. It’s in the village of Montbonnet.
And here is a scene that will become familiar to all pilgrims: Marc and Marie-Claude with our host family:
Waking the next day, I got a fast reminder that I was no longer at 31 degrees latitude south, close to the Pacific Ocean.
But day two was just an average spring excursion for the Quebec contingent: