It’s getting on a bit on my trek in the Pairaknees. Much has happened since my last blog post. Yvette and I have been up hill and down dale. We have camped on bogs, stayed in refuges, eaten in Gites and washed in rivers. Tomorrow Yvette heads for blighty while I head off up a very steep hill towards Meren les Vals. We have just enjoyed a very good meal at the gite run by Fabrice and in the wonderful company of a Belgian and three French folks. Outside, in Siguer, is it still gloriously warm. This what life should be like. The gloomy weather of the last few days is gone and the views are stunning.
The walking is still remarkably hard but getting easier. There have been some beautiful French hill villages on this walk. Narrow twisty streets, with houses packed in tight, so high up on mountains that you wonder why they are there. Two hours steep walking takes you down ancient cobbled tracks to another village, again with no shops or facilities. What do all the inhabitants do for a living? Even Stawley has a shop. Here you have to drive to Paris or Toulouse to get a Mars bar. And don’t run out of petrol cos there are few petrol pumps to be found.
Enough of all this moaning, yesterday we saw a noisy black woodpecker and today a very confident red squirrel. The day before we surprised a bunch of deer in the woods. So there is some wildlife that the French have not shot. And we are becoming true travellers – meeting and making friends on the trail. Will I overtake them in my dash for the Med?
Talking of which, I am cultivating a very cool tan. Brown legs from thigh to sock top and shoulders too. The band holding my glasses has left a nice white stripe on the back of my neck. Super. The thought of a dip in the Med is focussing my fantasies now, I expect to hit the beach running when I arrive at Banyuls sur Mer in just over a week or so.