Fra(i)ncia XXVIII – Road to Cahors

I left when the fog burned off and the sun was shining beautiful, some minor rain clouds here and there but it was all nice and peaceful. I went on my way after talking Petra into staying another few days, maybe even stay until the housewarming party. It would be a nice conclusion to her stay and I would just love to see her again.

I found my way pretty easily and without a couple of stops dodging rain showers, the road was pretty smooth. I entered a beautiful town that Perrine already told me about called Faycelles, beautiful, quaint little paths to where all the stores and bars were closed. It was no matter. Im wearing enough kebabs on me to keep me going without eating a for a lil while..

At the end of the day I reached this other little town and I had a choice to make. Either I was going to take the normal GR- 65 route (which was more inland from the river) or I was going to take a shorter route, the GR-651, it looked a little bit more difficult but there were a couple of positives. I could swerve off the path and just follow the road, also following the river (which logically flows at the lowest point) made me think that it would be more flat than the other GR route.

In the end my bet paid off. I woke up in a little town and went to the bar to drink a tea. Then went back to the entrance and walked down the mountain, being a little afraid of the risk but pushed on anyway. The weather was pleasant enough and I soon took a little break to eat some incredible homemade jam that Marie her mom gave me. I still had a good piece of spicy cheese left and the prune/mint jam made a very nice combination.

As I walked on I decided to work a little on my walking stick, it was a little too big for my taste and I decided to slim it down a tad, finding some sandpaper on one of my kebab runs in Figeac. Still had some knife work to do though before I was going to use it.

It seems I have made the right choice and the landscape was absolutely beautiful. Cliffs encompassed the entire route with birds and forests in the fertile valley. Because of the fog coming from the river in the evening I found myself walking through forests that were covered in moss, untouched by human hands for quite some time, creating this mystical atmosphere. Instead of following the GR-651, I decided on just walking on the normal road to the next village. Cars were almost none existent so I didnt see a reason why not. I entered a town and there was a massive pilgrim statue there. On my way in I had a short chat with some interested people and the mayor of the town told me not to sleep in the valley since the fog and the humidity from the river made everything pretty cold during nighttime.

The giant pilgrim statue in the town and other subtle hints I got while walking made it possible that this is maybe the original route that pilgrims took back in the day. In my mind I find it hard to believe that pilgrims back in the day decided to take the route following nature instead of walking through civilisation. Roads now are mostly laid upon roads that people used to use so why the hell not? Yea, no Im pretty sure this is the route any sane pilgrim would take when as so little as glancing at a map. It looked shorter, it went through towns, it followed the lowest point and yea I dont have anymore arguments but I cant think of anything more that matters.

At the end of the day it was getting dark, still about 40 kilometers to Cahors and I thought I was just going to keep going, maybe all through the night. It was a waxing moon however and that made everything pretty fucking dark, even with my flashlight.. I arrived in a town and I was planning on putting up my tent BUT when I walked around the town I found a backdoor open. I saw light burning behind a door but as the most ninja version of me, I walked in. Looked at the place and there was also a stairs leading up to a 2ndstory. 

Now my strategy when entering a place I shouldnt be is this; I enter the place, I look around for camera’s/any form of security and then I back out. I take a little stroll and take in the environment (neighbors/predictions about how it will look in the morning/how noticable I would be).

I walked around the building and I noticed that it belonged to an antique store. Leaving on the light in the actual shop all day, closed off by just a door when you entered from the back. This is shady. Still the fog from the river was setting in and putting up my tent was just a hassle.

I went back to the store and peeked through a crack in the old wooden door, the backroom was filled with building materials and the stairs seemed to be a little bit dusty.

Me and Lucy went up halfway, well I went halfway and Lucy ran up the stairs like she lived there wagging her tail as my cautious ass was absorbing the atmosphere.

A closed door, looked lived in..I backed down, went outside, smoked a cigaret and walked around. You see this tactic plays into silent alarms, if they had any, I would have tripped them by now and gendermarie would make its way to the store within a maximum of 20 minutes. 

I set up a tactical vantage point while also exploring the rest of the town, I found a closed up bar at the edges with a terrace, a stone oven for making pizza and a nice little tool cabinet behind it, just enough space to hide my bag. Excellent.. I went to retrieve the bag that I had left near the ruined church. The church itself was also open but the door was fenced off by a lvl 8 lock, too bad my exp is only lvl 3 at this point.

I hid my bag and went back to the antique place, this time opening and closing the door. Walking up the stairs making as little sound as possible, walk up the door and shone my light into the room. Weird stuff all over the place, a chair, some blankets and fuck yes – a mattress. I decided to open the door this time, not touching anything with my fingers as to not leave any prints. The door had a slight budge so I couldnt outright open it, finally I understood the manual and I opened the door.. Statues, paintings. Boxes with German descriptions on it…I didnt care.. It was cold but the chair looked like the best place to sleep, the matresses would be perfect as well but I would have to put a lot of stuff back in place to make it seem unvisited the next day. Yea no, the chair was the best option, Lucy on my lap, my bag safe and sound a little while away, a few real fur blankets to keep me warm. I sent my brother the exact place where I was staying, just a fail safe in the background were this to be the beginning of a horror movie..

I wanted to wake up the next day before anyone was possibly going to be there. I overslept like a motherfucker and as I put on my shoes, I noticed no sounds except for birds. Good sign. I left as quietly as I entered and went to a little bar/store thing near where I parked my backpack. 
There were some other French people there and it was nice talking to them, I drank a few coffee and bought some food for Lucy. A monsieur told me that the cold, and the fog, would burn off soon enough and I agreed with him.

Eventually it burned off and I shook hands, kissed cheeks (men and females alike), went to the church to burn 3 candles and off I went. 

Little did I know that by me taking GR-651, sleeping in the antique shop, leaving when the fog burned off, set me on an entirely different experience than I would have had if I followed the ‘normal’ pilgrim path.