12 Sep 10: Aumont Aubrac to Nasbinals

Route: 12 km by taxi to Quartres Chemin and 16 km walk

Tour: Down to a group of three now, we cross the Aubrac plateau today – this is Big Sky Country. Looks a bit like eastern Montana with a few more trees. The planned itinerary was too long to be successfully walked in a day, given our track record so far, and we have a deposit on the night’s lodging. So we took a taxi the first 12 km, up a 1000 ft grade, leaving us 16 km to walk, and that is enough! The crest for the day is at about 1270 m altitude, with large volcanic (?) boulders named Wolf Rock. We see two groups of hunters, with shotguns and bird dogs. American dogs will come over to greet and make friends, but French dogs, like their masters, are cool and standoffish. We pass through Fineroyals, birthplace of a priest/missionary/author who survived Buchenwald and for 20 years served the Indians of Peru. However the town does not follow his example. At the entry to the town a sign is posted, telling pilgrims to raise our sticks, leave the townspeople alone, and to use the fountain/picnic area on the far side of town. We make a midday coffee stop at Rieutort, which has yurt accommodations, along with a new shower house, but is not listed in Miam Miam Dodo (MMD). They have Panache, which is a shandy (UK) or radler (Deustch) (lemonade and beer), very refreshing (both cans!). We make a rolling descent under blue skies to Nasbinals, arriving early afternoon.

Lodging: Our lodging, Lo d’Ici, seems to be run by the local Martha Stewart (it’s very artistically decorated). Highly recommended.

Cuisine: Breakfast at du Barry is plentiful but nothing special. From the boulangerie we pick up jambon et fromage (ham and cheese) sandwiches, which we ate at Rieutort. Dinner at Sentiers du Aubrac (one of the two restaurants open on Sunday night) offered a pilgrim menu, but I took the larger meal with salad, grilled beef, green beans, cheese and a plum clafouti with creme anglais. And a bottle of vin rouge du pays. This was the last dinner with my remaining companions from home, and a celebration was in order.

Grace: We are grateful for taxis – we would never have made it otherwise. About 5pm we started seeing familar faces from last night struggle into town as we snacked by the church. Our lodging tonight is the most luxe so far: sheets, duvets, full bath en suite.

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