Overnight rain sprinkled on a bit past breakfast, dampening the grocery and bank stops slightly. Rolling hills, occasional woods. This is cow country; the hillsides are too steep for row crops. Several churches on the route: one modern, the others Romanesque. One was Larreule’s Eglise Saint-Pierre– a tiny parish church is all that remains of a mighty Benedictine abbey that fought the Moors, developed agriculture and industry in nearly half the Bearn for over 700 years — gone, demolished, the stones sold off (just like Cluny) — what a travesty! At least the British left their great patrimony standing. The morning was a long hard climb to a ridge top, but the afternoon was relatively free of foot pain. No explanations available for that. I walked with a Lyonnaise working in Paris as an occupational psychologist — or coach, as she calls it.
Lodging: Gite Ayguelongue. Gite tonight is a new place, by a dairy pasture. It’s right on the GR; definitely a gite and not a CH. Rooms are modest but clean and new; two rooms sleep two each, each with private bath ensuite. Also wifi bliss. My roomate is a woman from Brittany. Other guests are a Swiss couple from Lake Constance.
Cuisine: Dinner was not fancy: starter of local melon; main is a duck version of shephard’s pie (silly me, I thought I’d already had it every way possible), and a single cheese course with black cherry conserve. Mr speaks English and German, Madame only French. This place is not fancy, but a good value and excellent location.