29 Sep 11: Uhart-Mixe to Caracotchia

Route: Uhart-Mixe to Caracotchia  20 km

It is a beautiful morning climbing the ridge up out of the Uhart valley, with fantastic views. We did not stop at Chappelle de Soyartz, which would add an hour or more. But it is on the main route for those not taking the Uhart shortcut. Chappelle d’Harambeltz was locked but has a shady sheltering porch (makes a good refuge in bad weather I imagine). Made a morning refreshment and epicerie stop at Ostabat, where the church has interesting but relatively recent stonework and a modern stained glass window. Lunch made a nice break from a very hot day. This was in a Larceveau restaurant, as the CH tonight does not offer dinner and there is not a nearby restaurant there. The afternoon included a number of small ups and downs before reaching the gite.

Lodging: CH Chambres Paysannes. We arrive at the gite, and Madame steps out the front door to greet us in perfectly accented Southern California English, “So the Americans are here!” She’s from Pasadena, was widowed 25 years ago, and has been living in France over 40 years. She would like to see more Americans.

Cuisine: Lunch was a nice meal at Restaurant Espellet: a big salad plate with melon, greens, tomatoes, jambon, sausage, and hardboiled egg. The main course was a pimemton-spiced pork loin and rosti potatoes; glacee for dessert! Roast pigeon and a Basque cake that resembled a buttermilk tart were also enjoyed at the table. Dinner was a light picnic supper, shared along with three Lyonnaise women who have been walking with us for several days.

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