Yesterday morning (May 1st) I checked out of the hotel, paid the reception my 19 Euro and headed out into the misty morning with a stomach full of 4 star hotel breakfast of champions, along the road to Tence. The mist soon lifted and 12km or so later I arrived to the town of Tence:
There was a boulangerie open and I pigged out on a Feuillete Jambon Champignon, and on a delicious Friand Viande:
Wiping the pastry crumbs from my mouth and cheeks I began the walk upwards which would bring me to the ‘point culminant’ of the Geneva Way: Raffy.
The walk passes through pleasant countryside and most notably the village of St-Jeures:
Reaching the 1,276m summit of Raffy by the late afternoon I took this photo from the viewpoint of the land that layeth ahead:
What then proceeded was a steep, but pleasant, walk downwards into a valley peppered with stone-inspired villages and at around 7pm I arrived to the town of St-Julien-Chapteuil, where I began a search for a place to sleep for the night. Just as I was about to set off for the church, and also the one Accueil jacquaire listed as belonging in the town, a car pulled up and I was asked if I needed any assistance. One thing led to another and I ended up kipping on Bernau’s couch for the night where I had a well-deserved deep sleep and an equally well-deserved warm bath in the morning.
Bernau was a great host and I was amazed by this picture in his living room which is a jigsaw he put together and then had mounted, cut and framed:
We shared breakfast together and then I packed my things and said my goodbyes, wishing him all the best and feeling energised from the night’s stay. Bernau walked the Le Puy to St.Jean Pied du Port route over the course of a couple of years, in stages, and he let me know that the first section of the walk from Le Puy is “Magnifique”. He also let me know that I should expect to meet a heap of fellow pilgrims in Le Puy and while this is excellent news, I am also mindful that I’ll need to get my clogs on and reach Le Puy in good time to grab a night’s sleep before all the Donativo options – which are in their multitude there – are taken up. I plan to spend a bit of time sightseeing in Le Puy and resting up further before setting off tomorrow en route towards the start of the Camino Frances at St.Jean Pied du Port, which is approximately 730km distance from Le Puy.
The church on the hill at St-Julien-Chapteuil:
From here – in this very colourful bar I’m checking my @ in before I set off – at St-Julien-Chapteuil, it is another 18km to reach the town of Le Puy-en-Velay.