16 Sep 11: Condom to Montreal-du-Gers

Route: Condom to Montreal-du-Gers (17km)
Loveliest part of the day was the first 30 minutes, along the riverbank in the early morning cool. After that we climbed out of the river valley and zigzagged across rolling fields in the sweltering sun. The road is quieter today as the Normandy 8 and the Strasbourg 4 along with the dozen van-touring from Montauban ended their journeys in Condom. Can’t say I fault them: there’s nothing much out here. Morning stop at Larressingle, which is very much worth the small detour. Best preserved medieval walled town in the area. It was a long hot day that became increasingly humid – there is a bit of rain in the weekend forecast. Montreal is a nice small town, several restaurants and bars on or near the square. Church has 4th century mosaics.

Lodging: Le Couloume. My lodging was at a rural gite about 1 km out of town (town was full!). Very hospitable folks. This is a 5th generation family farm. Madame and her mother run it. Madame’s English is good but it is hard work for her. She works with an NGO that has a hospital team in Afghanistan and a school in Sri Lanka – she organizes the benefit concerts in Paris for their operating funds. Her son is a winemaker, not interested in the family farm, which saddens her.

Cuisine: Dinner for me and Madame: fresh chilled tomato soup with garlic, panfried duck hearts (very beefy!) with potatoes fried in duck fat, salad vinagrette, and a fig creme (very like a chilled pudding but from scratch of course). Large old farmhouse – I fear this is a disappearing way of life.

Different faces today- an unemployed Normand, two new Canadians from Ontario. I am learning the pilgrim lessons: stay on the path, take what comes, adjust your pace to match your resources and what is required of you, companionship and hospitality are inexpensive to offer and priceless to receive. Help create community wherever you go.

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