27 Sep 10: Cahors to Moissac (by train)

Tour: I had purchased a train ticket from Moissac back to Paris before I left the States, and there were no rail stops on the walking route between Cahors and Moissac, so I decided to end this year’s walk at Cahors and continue by train to Moissac. So I have the morning to explore Cahors, which is a rather large place. There is an extensive old town section that is quite nice, worth a several hours’ stroll. The cathedral is especially noteworthy (both for its architecture and its interior decoration), really not to be missed. Eventhough it is a Monday, the sandwich shops on the main street are open, with a nice assortment on offer. The train station is on the west side of town, north of the western bridge where GR65 exits town. Although no restaurants were open Sunday evening, some are open for Monday lunch. The train station is large; the TGV connection is in Montauban which is 40 minutes away by rail. I ran into an Australian couple on the train. They had walked the Ceile valley route, then rented a houseboat on the Lot for a week as a break from their Chemin walk, with good recommendations.

Lodging: Lodging in Moissac was Gite Ultreia, run by an Irish couple, the Bates, very comfortable and hospitable – and well known among pilgrims. Very highly recommended. I visited the historic abbey church (a dependent of Cluny) and cloister, strolled downtown, had a good Belgian brown beer, attended Vespers at the abbey church with the nuns singing beautifully.

Cuisine: Breakfast at Cahors (and yes I was ready for it!) included homemade multi-grain bread and fromage blanc, a tasty and welcome change of pace. Lunch from sandwich shops downtown across form the Tourism office” a nice salad, a jambon-emmenthaler small sandwich and another, a poulet provencal, ensemble a emporter very tasty. Dinner was demi-pension at the gite. Starter: ripe melon with proscuttio, along with tomato and cucumber. Main: steamed Yukon Gold potatoes, haricots vert and buttered carrots (three bowls of vegetables – a first!), with fresh salmon poached in white wine and tarragon. Dessert: Peach Melba with vanilla ice cream. we all commented on how the French seem to grow many vegetables in the garden but do not serve them at the table (except salad). They must go into the soup. Our table includes one Austrian from Gratz, who has walked from there over the years. He says the trails are not stoney, and villages are frequent (every 2 km).

Packing Notes for next year: Need to reduce the pack weight. Get the new smaller Kindle, use a smaller size foot balm and foot powder, no body powder, a smaller 38 liter pack, a 2 liter water bladder, no salt/pepper, no mirror, no phrase book, consolidate the paperwork for post-walking activities, substitute a lightweight vest or jacket or the third shirt, substitute sturdier casual shoes if available at the same weight, only one pen.

Route Notes for next year: Daily stages during the first week need to be less than 15 km. And plan one rest day every week.

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