Fra(i)ncia XXXI – Race to the Border I

I woke up and the weather was nice, not as cold a night as before. Walked to a boulangerie to get some extra bullshit that I didn’t need BUT seriously craved.

Over the bridge, up a hill and sat by a cross with a nice view of Cahors. I didn’t have a chance to refill my water bottles and I was running low at some point, I must admit that I still felt the alcohol from 2 days earlier and I was a little low on energy during the day.


I came across a dog school, with a closed fence. Behind the shitty fence was a water tap and I had 2 options: I could climb the shitty fence with ease but I could also try to lockpick the shitty lock on the fence. Sure, why not. Got out my lockpick set and pressured the lock, tried the raking approach since it wasn’tthat kind of difficult lock and come on God, I only need some water, this be a just cause.. I can climb the fence but..hang on…keep the pressure….and turnnnnn annnnddd *click*– open…wauw.. Endorfines flushed my system, so fucking satisfying, like shooting an arrow and hitting a target, getting that first ride while hitchhiking towards where you need to go, spotting that bird.. Very fulfilling sense of accomplishment. The water tap was closed by a main valve but thanks to this random French guy from a week ago who showed it to me at some cemetery, I also knew where to look for that.. Yea this is all starting to complement each other pretty well..

I made myself a victory coffee and bragged around a little on WhatsApp.. First time I picked a lock for actual reasons though and I must say, sweetest coffee couldn’t be sweeter. 

Afterwards I left everything the way I found it and hit the road again with refilled water bottles.

I decided not to go very hard on the 1stday, time is on my side, lets find my rhythm. I ended up in a little town called La Bastide, there was a cafe open but they didn’thave any working internet connection, I drank a tea and bought and ate some stuff from the little store. Tv playing in the background with a lot of French people talking in a panicky tone about Covid-19, yea this was the talk of the town. I wanted to continue on afterwards but in my gluttonous haste I forgot my walking stick inside when the bar closed. No biggy. I just park my tent near the church under a beautiful blossom tree and just pick it up in the morning when they opened. 

Pink Wildcamp spot

The night was beautiful and a bit cold, the weather was not looking good for the following days which kind of bummed me out but I didn’thave a choice but to continue. Cold weather no problem, endless rainy days – really fucked up and it wasn’tlooking good. 

The next day I woke up and looked on my Weather Radar app (can recommend), the rain was supposed to be here already and at first I thought fuckit, Im just going to wait until it clears up and then go to the bar and pack up my tent. Something in me stirred however and I had the urge to just pack up and leave immediately, had everything ready in 5 minutes just as it slowly started to drizzle. When I entered the bar it started to pour like I hadn’tseen in quite some time. I decided to try the wifi again in the bar and it worked this time around, probably because they turned off the power during the night and when they opened back up, the modem restarted. I took it as a sign to get out my laptop and spend the last of my cash in that place. Drinking tea and eating and just rattling away on my laptop. The people were friendly. The bar closed around 1500h and that was a start sign for me to leave as well, this time not forgetting my walking stick. The weather was on and off and I took a little rest here and there sheltering. Got a free iced tea from a nice farmer.

The rain was really going nuts and I was fucking soaked, luckily at some point I came across a hunters cabin where a fresh kill had been made, blood was still spattered all over the place and the smell of decay put Lucy on edge. I looked around the place and actually found the keys to the place. I scouted the place out and no chance in hell I was going to stay for the night in that place, meat hooks everywhere, saws and other instruments I only eve saw in horror movies. I did ate a box of crackers that I found there and left them money, living on the edge eyy?

Entering Lascabanes, I had a pretty slow day and the weather wasn’tworking out at all. There was a public toilet however where there was also a heater. I used to that to my full advantage and hung everything up to dry there and put up my tent in a grassfield next to it. Normally I would have slept there but the place wasn’tall that clean to begin with. 

The weather was slightly better the next day although still very unpredictable, rainstorms popped up out of nowhere and I didn’tknow if I should wear my poncho or walk around in my t-shirt, yea not having that much fun at all. In Montcuq there were several stores but they were closed for the afternoon, I used this excuse to drink a couple of tea in a bar and I was amazed at all the English tourists there. Lucy did her rounds through the room without the bosslady giving a shit and actually got a pretty decent amount of bones, meat and fries out of it. Conversations of Coronavirus filled the room and the consensus was overwhelmingly one of underestimating it.. I was surprised at the level of ignorance but thats besides the point, Idon’twant to prop myself up as some guy who knows it all, but unlike Ebola, SARS & MERS, I had a bad feeling about this one.All the traits of a serious clusterfuck. When the stores were supposed to open they were actually closed for the entire day. YAYyyy 😦

My goal for the day was a village called Lauzerte, it seemed reasonably big and had a couple of stores and bars. The sun was setting and I made myself a coffee in a little village in the church, brewed it right there on the altar, a holy coffee if you will. There was also a ladder going up to the clocktower but Im not going to go up some janky ass ladder 15m with a hard stone floor beneath it. Risk is good, if you can mitigate it..

Holy Coffee

I walked over the road to Lauzerte and it was getting dark properly, just as I was about to take a piss on this country road, a car pulled in. I looked at them but nobody got out. I zipped everything back up and walked to the car. 2 friendly ladies opened their window and I apologized to them, they didn’tcare too much and asked where I was going, they offered to take me to Lauzerte and even though it was only 5km left, I wasn’tgoing to say no. They also offered to host me in a farm a little ways back but I didn’tfeel like accepting that. Their names were Mariëll & Lisa, bless them.

Lauzerte was indeed a bigger place, actually reminded me a lot of a bigger version of Vézelay, castle on a mountain, long winding street up the side, supermarkets at the foot. I sat at a bar of some Belgian guy and girl and the girl actually spoke Dutch. She was Belgian of course so I was kind of on my P’s & Q’s but they were very friendly, her mother even paid for a tea. Her name was Ann. It was good to talk a little Dutch face to face and I cherished the moment. In between tea’s I found out that there was a pilgrim garden and why not put my fucking tent there? I did and the weather was just complete shit, rain storms, thunder, wind – all those good things. 

The next day I went to the store, by the time I realized I went there for absolutely nothing, just as I realized this I slipped and got the wind knocked out of me, INSULT to injury followed as the store was closing for the afternoon and the lady made no exception whatsoever.. I did see a guy there with a dog who seemed friendly enough although a little rough around the edges. I went back to the town and it started to rain, great. Took some shelter and thought about what to do today, my wet shoes caused somewhat of blisters and a rest day was maybe in my best interest. Also get some more writing done doesn’t sound all the bad. 

I was sheltering for the rain and this guy with his dog walks by, I greeted him and we talked a bit, he offered to host me in town and uhhh yea dude, cool. Thanks. His name was Dino (Age: 28, Occupation; professional bullshitter) and the dog’s name was Nhala. Argentine pitbull but as sweet as can be, Lucy hated Nhala’s guts, dominant little bitch that she is. The guy explained to me that he was squatting a house on the border of town and I told him I didn’t really care haha. We came up to the house which was a little secluded and had to enter through the window. This guy haha, wtf. He had been there for about a week or so and it belonged to some English tourists as some birthday cards gave away their nationality. Dino was every sort of person your parents told you to stay away from when you were younger and as he made an omelette for the both of us, he told me the wildest stories. After dinner I remembered that I had the weed left from Gwen and I didn’t expect to use it this soon, but it seemed like a very opportune moment. Most of it were just stories but I believe there would be a kernel of truth to them, from people hanging themselves because he gave them too much LSD, squatting around Europe from Greece to France, fighting people, getting into trouble with the police, yea this guy wouldn’t be considered a good guy. I didn’t care much though, I don’t judge people on what they’ve done, only how they treat me in that moment. Apparently he had lived in this town for quite some time when he was younger, a fact that would become evident later as were walking around town. His plan was to panhandle a little at the local supermarket while I did some writing. 

We went to the office du tourism and the lady behind the counter gave me a look like I was part of the problem, no care.. Just give me the stamp.. In the bar he greeted the owner, only only to be met with contempt and raised eyebrows. Then he went towards the store where I met him earlier and I actually got some good writing in.

Dino came back soon enough and we had another drink in the bar, apparently he had gotten 20 € that day and also had a grocery bag full of food, good catch my dude, good catch. We were going to watch a movie in the evening while he made us dinner, you guessed it, more pasta carbonara. What is it with these French people honestly.. Doesn’t matter if you’resome squatter with a taste for psychedelics, some crazy bipolar Christian boomer or just some priest..When they do pasta – they do carbonara. Ehh I guess its a relatively low effort meal and you could use your local cheeses or recipes to make it.. JUST MAKE A RED ONE DAMNIT!

In the evening we watched Lawrence of Arabia, because why not watch a 3,5 hour movie from 50 years ago with some guy who barely speaks English, has a attention deficit and a mouth that just keeps on running.

Dino was a good enough guy, just ever becoming rougher as the years progressed and not really giving a shit about anything other than him and his dog. Still friendly and sharing to me though.

We went for a water run and he showed me all the places he did crazy shit in this town, it explained peoples reactions walking around earlier to say the least, as this guy was well known and most people clearly wished they didn’t. The guy was a saint to me however. Even spending some of his hard earned cash on buying some local beer that I just had to try when we finished up the movie. 


I had a good night sleep on the couch and the next day Dino loaded me up with some food, that he didn’tlike, but people had given to him. We walked into town and said our goodbyes.