To this point the towns had been mostly in valleys or on flats. Some, like Faycelles and Montcuq, were on a bit of a rise, with defenses both natural and constructed. This day I came to the foot of a true bastide, a town built on a pinnacle, to dominate the country right round and to defend the road from Cahors to Moissac. Its strategic position and its location on the pilgrim trail made it a prosperous town, and, to this day, a very pretty one. I was surprised by Lauzerte’s finished beauty and wish I’d spent more time there. But the town was booked out!
On leaving Montcuq that morning, I found the trail to be full of pilgrims. This was to be one of those unplanned social days such as occur on the Camino. You find yourself walking and talking all day in varied company. Must have been like that for Chaucer, when he took his pilgrimage at this time of year…”when that April with its showers sweet etc”.
There was Yves, who commanded a minesweeper in the French navy. Two co-incidences: my father commanded a minesweeper in the Australian navy, and Yves’ ship was called Lilas, “Lilac”, which is precisely what was in flower along the track. Get all that? Here’s the snap:
And there was Connie from Holland, a travel addict. Here she takes her own photo – of a colourful European subsidy.
Not sure if that rapeseed is for cooking frites or to fuel Prince Charles’ Land Rover, but the acreage over the region is extensive and the effect is pretty.
The day ended in a camping just before Lauzerte, where I stayed in a yurt. It was the only hot day in my entire pilgrimage. Whatever the ventilation theory of the yurt, the thing was too hot and stayed too hot for too long. Theories!
The group of Frenchmen I dined with in the open air would have been great trail companions…but they liked to walk fast. Can’t have that. Read the title of this blog, please! So we dined on magret (grilled duck breast), and wild asparagus…and it felt like we’d been friends all our lives. Then they were gone early the next day. C’est ça, le chemin. That’s the Camino.
When I finally left in the morning, I’d almost forgotten there was an important bastion-town to ascend and pass through. When I saw Lauzerte, it came as a nice shock.
The town has its own special line. That’s the best way I can put it.
Apparently there were government incentives for inhabiting one of these upper storeys. A bit like growing rapeseed, really.