26 Sep 10: Vaylats to Cahors

Route: 24.6 km with 400 ft descent

Tour: Underway at the striking of the 8:00 bell and rolled up to the gite door at 4:15, with about an hour of mid-day halts. It was good walking the first two hours, over an old Roman road as far as La Peche. This is still karst country, with limestone underpinning the thin soil, and scrubby oak forest, occasional sheep, no views, no farms, no towns, no reason for being here except passing through. The hunters were after pheasant though (saw one on the wing, quite large). I know this distance is longer than I am comfortable with, but it is the last walking day, so it does no harm if my feet are still sore tomorrow. We passed several lodging options on the way in, but I expect those work only if there is a Francophone in the party (small places well away from towns). La Peche at midday was the only other viable stop. This entire stretch (Cajarc to Cahors) is utterly pointless on the GR65; I would encourage any pilgrims following to explore other options. There is the towpath route along the Lot, or the variants through the Ceile valley, or via Rocamador, or via Lalabenque. The last hour of walking is brutal; too long and a very steep descent into town. I am very glad for the cheerful companionship of my Quebecois friend, who keeps me going.

Lodging: La Maison des Pelerins

Cuisine: The lodging in Cahors (Maison des Pelerins) is spacious and very clean, but this is Sunday night, and the nearest open eatery is a 30-minute walk one-way. My feet are too sore and I am too exhausted to think twice about this. So I make a meal off the last of the grocery provisions: tinned tuna, a carot, and some Babybels. It is very important to identify eating arrangements when making lodging reservations.

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