25 Sept 10: Limogne to Vaylats

Route: 15.8 km with 25 ft climb (nearly net flat overall)

Tour: Marie the Belgian routed us past the well preserved, ancient clothes-washing place , and a local man walking his golden Lab took pains to walk with me back to the waymarked trail. I started at 9:15 and arrive 3:00 with a 15 minute lunch, so was making good about 3 kph with the normal rest stops. Scrubby woods and small farm holdings; this is a thinly populated part of the country. Lodging is in a convent guesthouse, two-person room with the same Quebecois – it is really helpful to have a Francophone to carry the language load. I attended the evening Mass at 5:30, there being no office on Sunday, which Saturday evening counts as part of.

Lodging: Monastere des Filles de Jesus

Cuisine: I feared a vegetarian regime but the convent offered a regular demipension menu. The nuns were seated at separate tables from us guests in the same dining room. There was a vegetable soup, mostly carrots. The main was roast pork with potatoes, and the dessert was a stewed plum compote. Plenty of food to go around the family-style table. I wondered what happened to all the leftovers, until I saw six sleek cats loitering outside the kitchen door as I made my way back to my room.

Grace: I can maintain my focus. With quiet, and the absence of media, and the absence of work thoughts, I can concentrate for a change. At least, I can in the mornings, with the rhythm of walking established and the fatigue/hunger thoughts not yet intruding. I like being able to join in Sunday Mass, participating in the community of the faithful. There are ten nuns here, and I interact with two, whose hearts of love are discernable even through the language barrier. This feels very special.

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