Chez Glorit to Saint-Martin-Lacaussade
Tuesday 21 October
I was unsure if the proprietor of the hostel meant I had to leave at 7.30 am, or pay before that ungodly hour, but he had said ‘7.30 verandah’. I rose, half packed and stumbled to the verandah by 7.30, only to be invited in to have breakfast with the family. He then invited me to show him where I lived on Google Earth, zooming in on my house in Bail, then spinning the globe, and zooming in on his house too. He was impressed that I had come such a long way.
The fog was thick, and it was cooler this morning, and didn’t start to lift until after 10. I was taking it slowly as my knees were not the most cooperative this morning. The ride was stunning, I was now in the Bordeaux region, passing vineyards, forested areas and tiny hamlets. The damp weather had produced crops of mushrooms overnight, and there were many people out along the path collecting them. Pity I don’t know my mushrooms well enough or I would have joined them.
After leaving the delightful country roads, I had to join a busy truck filled road for a couple of kilometers, before I could join a cycle path that took me for all the way to Saint-Martin-Lacaussade, my destination for today. Due to my early start, and that I wasn’t riding very far today, I arrived the earliest yet, about 1.30. I was again staying in a pilgrims’ hostel. It was easy to find and I called for the key when I arrived, as they were expecting someone with no French. The charming lady arrived and showed me all the facilities, and a big fat book with lots of information about the Camino. She explained the options for my ride tomorrow, and left me with the keys and instructions on how to lock up. Again I was the only guest, and only number 210 for the year in this quiet little town. I was only three kilometers along the cycle path from Blaye, where there is an ancient citadel, so unpacked my bike, and decided to go and explore.
The citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage site, built in the 15th century overlooking the 75 km long, 12 km wide Gironde Estuary – an important port in the Bordeaux area. Inside it was dotted with small craft shops and restaurants, I had a pleasant time wandering and gazing at the sea under stormy clouds.
I had a desire to cook, so went to the supermarket to get some supplies. I bought a small mixed box of fresh ‘soup ingredients’ – onions, leeks, turnips and carrots; some of those delicious small French lentils, and tried to find some herbs, but it seems fresh herbs aren’t available in the supermarkets, so settled for a bunch of ‘fresh dried’ thyme & laural (bay leaf?). There was not a chili in sight, so would have to be French style, not my usual Asian style. I also picked up a citron tart for dessert at the patisserie. The hostel had a well equipped kitchen, and I was soon chopping and simmering. The vegetables, herbs, and lentils all had a different flavor to what I am used to, much sweeter, and I cooked quite a tasty meal, quaffing a nice Bordeaux I had bought earlier, while playing some music on my iPad and dancing around the kitchen – just like no one was watching – such is my Joie de vivre!