After a long and arduous descent into Saint Privat d’Allier yesterday, we needed a little pampering, and that is exactly what we got at our gite l’Etape Gourmand, run by Sonja from Holland. She runs a small but very attractive and beautiful place. She agreed to cook us dinner, which was fabulous We were the only guests last night, so we had a nice time chatting with her. She has a wonderful heart and enjoys people (she also speaks English very well).
Saint Privat d’Allier is gorgeous with stunning views from all sides.
The town is indeed, gorgeous, but there are only two stores (a butcher shop and a bakery). With a long hike of 19 km ahead of us, we stoked up on a baguette, goat cheese, tomatoes, croissants and fruits (our picnic breakfast and lunch).
We left our gite at 6:10 a.m. this morning before the sunrise!
The day started with alternating ascents and descents, but after an hour, it was downhill the rest of the morning.
What a surprise when we reached a town around 9:30 a.m. to find coffee (for Pat) and Gelato (for me).
At 10:00 a.m. we began a continuous, long climb of over 10 km with beautiful panoramic views.
Halfway up the mountain we came to the chapel Madeline which originally was a 36,000-year-old cave, in front of which a facade added in 17th century.
The climb continued while the views and shade allowed us to enjoy the early afternoon.
We stopped along the way for our picnic lunch in the shade beside the trail. The baguette with cheese, tomatoes and chicken tasted great, and the ability to sit for awhile after the few hours of climbing was fantastic (especially with the pack off our backs).
It was a 90+ degree day, and the afternoon sun was merciless towards the top where there was only intermittent shade. After 10 hours, we finally climbed down to our destination of Saugues.
We are staying in a large gite tonight and just finished our communal dinner with other pilgrims and hordes of kids vacationing in this town and gite!
BTW, it was supposed to be 19km hike, but based on my Fitbit, it recorded 217 floors of climbing and 26km of hiking. We are beat.
P.S it is nice to have wifi and a strong cellular service for the first time this week so that I could upload more pictures!
That does sound like a very long day; I remember those shadow pictures, and those beautiful paths- oh the memories of our Camino keep replaying!! That chapel reminds me of the cave temples in Sri Lanka.
Take it easy- that’s a lot of miles and floors all on the same day in the first week.
Wow, that’s a lot of floors this early on and in this heat.
Beautiful pictures. Keep ’em coming!
Somehow my comments have not been posting, on this or the previous entry so I’m trying to post again using my Facebook account!
That is a lot of floors in this heat, keep hydrated. Loving all the pictures. Keep ’em coming!
beautiful pictures – wow that is a lot of floors and miles – you guys are in good shape
thank you for sharing
So good to hear from you. Miss all our friends. Give my regards to everyone.
Hi I’m Penny Eppers. My son Garrett is a good friend of Chand. She gave me your blog to follow. Love the pics and descriptions. interesting concept hiring a donkey and 217 flights of stairs on your Fitbit. That happened to me with my Fitbit in Vietnam. And I got steps while riding on a bumpy road.
So nice to have you with us virtually. You have a wonderful son.
Sounds like a pretty brutal day…hope tomorrow is bettter and cooler. Tough hiking in that kind of temperature. Those gites are a life saver.
I am enjoying every bit of your fabulous journey with breathtaking views! Happy walking😄😄
I am so glad you are virtually with us. We feel blessed.
Very nice pictures and good scenic route.
These pictures are stunning! And I’m happy you enjoyed your gelato. =)
The shadow selfies!! Reminds me of the first Camino!!! As our shadows grew into more and more people!
I was thinking of our Camino trip as I took that picture.