After Daniel and me said our goodbye’s I went to sit in a park and smoke a cigaret, looked at a map and apparently the office du tourisme was 2 streets away. It was cold as shit but that seemed like a great place to start. I need to drop my bag first somewhere (preferably in a place where Im sleeping) and then do groceries and take care of some things.
My charger for my laptop finally went to shit, held together with spit and duct tape after Lucy chewed the cable 5 years ago and my dad had fixed it and I never had a better charger, it was gone now however so I needed a new one to provide you guys with updates.
Also remember when I wrote I tried to fix my pants? Yea I completely botched it and made it all the worse. So on my to do list I had – sleeping place, find a new charger, find a pro to fix my pants.
The office de tourisme people were nice enough, although a little bit weathered in recommending stuff to tourists, especially tourists on pilgrimage. She called to a auberge and it was on the border of town and about 25 € a night, Lucy wasnt a problem and although that seemed nice, I didnt quite feel it. So I went for a tea in a bar at the border of the city centre. I looked at hostels/hotels/auberges and sent a couple of Couchsurfing requests around. All the prices were way more expensive than the one the office de tourisme recommended. Just as I was finishing up my search, I went for one last tea and got the bright idea to look at Airbnb’s. Of course most places didnt allow dogs but I thought I’d give it a go anyway. The first dude I messaged was like ‘Yea no problem! I can be there in 5min’ to which I agreed. I chugged my tea and the address he gave me was about a minute walk from where I was. Smack dab in the city centre. The guy was already there and he showed me around the apartment, little kitchen, little bathroom, 1 person bed and a little table to sit at. Oh did I mention the price? 20 € a night and I booked it for 2 nights. Another very big blessing. Now I was able to cook and I just get a kick out of sleeping in an apartment located in a historic street in the city center AND cheaper than the auberge! Just fucking great.
Next up was getting a charger/fixing my pants at a professional. I looked on maps and I walked by a couple of places but they were all closed because it was Saturday afternoon, there was one sowing shop open and the lady there was very unhelpful. The left artistic type that just liked to design stuff but not grind away on the sowing machine fixing things. Its whatever. A charger I found soon enough, a big electronics store was located and after bobbing and weaving through the city centre I found it and got one for 85 €. I hope it lasts me 5 years as well (only way its worth it). Looping back and forth through the city, my eyes fell on this woman sitting behind her sowing machine in what looked like a clothing shop. She smiled when I walked in and I asked her if she was able to fix my pants. Fuck yes she was and she told me to come back in an hour. The price? 10 €. Lol I should have done this right away instead of trying to do this shit myself.
I went back home, had a couple of coffee’s and returned to find everything fixed, she even did the ankle parts of the pants that had completely ripped over the time. The woman was very nice and friendly and I was just glad that she gave new life to my pants.
I went by a big store and decided to not do any sightseeing today, but tomorrow, Sunday seemed like a nice day to look around town. I went back home, made a great tuna sandwich for myself and had a very good nights sleep in my single bed. Lucy was chilling all over the place as is tradition and I bet she also really liked the fact that we werent homeless while in this town.
The next day I woke up and had a nice breakfast that I got the day earlier. I called a friend and took Lucy for a little spin. The apartment was located 2 streets from the cathedral, also the bigass Maria statue was really close to the apartment. Last time I was here I slept on the campsite that was located on exactly the wrong side of the village, climbing up a hill for 30 minutes, just absolute shit.. This time I was located on the commerce side of the town and the cathedral.
I went to the cathedral to get a stamp for my credential but sadly nothing was open. Someone did play the jurassic park theme on the organ and I must admit, that was pretty epic. Also Le Puy is famous for having a black Madonna statue which I still remembered from last time, it was still there this time around (not that surprised, there wasnt a French revolution or anything in the meantime).
Also did some exploring around the cathedral but since Lucy was tied up outside, I couldnt go to far. Maybe for the better.
The statue came after that and last time around I climbed it in the dark, scaling a fence that Lucy fit through, walking behind the lights so my shadow wouldnt cast on the wall for the whole town to see – until I couldnt go any further. This time during daylight I had to pay for entering it but thats not my style so I only went up to the entrance. They also buffed up the defenses of the place, placing a barbed wire fence on the wall that I used to climb over it. Not sure if I was the cause but I remember one of the stars that I clung onto was loose back then, so Im probably not the only one crazy enough to climb historical monuments after closing hours.
After that was chappelle St. Michel d’Aiguilhe, a chapel constructed (also) on top of a chimney, a long winding path alongside it. When I arrived there it was closed for renovations. Great stuff. I always renovate shit in the winter as well.. I still got in through the fence since the iron doors had major holes in it but there was an office over the main staircase and the elevator was out. No matter, still beautiful pictures. A lady saw Lucy when we returned and wondered what that cute dog was doing there, then she saw my face and I flashed her my shell necklace like I was in the fucking FBI and she giggled and walked off. Honestly the amount of shit you get away with while wearing this.
On the other side of town is a massive statue of Joseph, holding a little baby Jesus. Its actually taller than the Maria statue but the Maria statue is on top of a higher hill, creating this perspective that it looks higher. I arrived there just after dark and it was already closed, the gift shop was still open and I had a nice chat with an old lady working there. I also bought a pendant to put on my shell necklace of J-man himself.
I went back to my apartment and made a bossy bread (recipe on request). Did some writing after that and felt really content, this time around I’d seen much more of the city and I didnt just feel quite done yet. I asked the owner of the Airbnb if I could stay another night but it was already booked. Just when I got a message back declining my request, one of the couchsurfing requests that I’d sent yesterday got back to me. A nice girl called Manon offered to host me later in the week if I still needed a place to sleep and it couldnt have come at a more convenient time. We called after dinner and she told me to meet her at the station around 1800h the next day. Perfect! That actually gave me an extra day in this beautiful place.
The next day I fucked up completely, I went to sleep way too late the previous day and I got woken up by the owner of the Airbnb. He gave me another 10 minutes to get everything in order and I used it to pack everything, putting the key on the table and closing the door to the apartment. THAT screwed him up even more because I was supposed to hand him over the key. Yea I messed up this dude’s monday proper as he lived outside of the city at least a 20min drive.. I kinda felt bad but he did end up leaving a nice review so blessed be him! I went to the cathedral and while sitting in front of eat eating a croissant a woman walked out her door towards me and offered me a coffee. Tres gentiles! I went into the cathedral and just knocked on the door leading to the treasury, to my surprise someone opened the door and was all the more happy to give me a nice red stamp of Le Puy en Velay.
I drank some coffee and tea at the bar that I sat at on the first day and the people there were very friendly to me as well.
Manon and me met at the station later that day and we had to take the bus to a little town called Rosières. Manon spoke English very well and we hit it off right away. She had prepared to make me dinner when we got home and we got a nice bottle of local wine (Ventoux), a nice pumpkin mash with lentels, very healthy and good! She was a good cook! Cant believe that Couchsurfing put me in touch again with this fantastic person. She offered me a much needed laundry session and I took a great shower.
The next day Manon had to go to school early but she offered to let me sleep in and just spend the day at her appartment! Extremely friendly. In return I planned on cooking my pasta that night since she had a long day at school. The little town had most of the ingredients and Manon had brought the rest from the city. We shared a beer and had a very good night sleep.
The next day we went with the early bus to Le Puy en Velay, we said our goodbye’s and I continued on my journey. Really cool person and I hope we can stay in touch! Youre an angel Manon! Meeting special people like this really puts courage into my soul to continue on.
And that about rounds it all up. Le Puy en Velay, a city that in retrospect, I hardly did any justice last time around, but this time around made up for the things I didnt do 5 years ago. Beautiful and weird, friendly people, good food and just very pleasant place to spend a little time. I felt refreshed and satisfied, mostly thanks to Manon honestly, that last little boost on top of the things that I originally set out to do..
Thank you Manon <3, thank you Le Puy en Velay