38 and Counting

1Our walking holiday is turning into more holiday and less walking.  France Meteo issued a canicule warning for today… Canicule “précoce et exceptionnelle” dans le Sud-Ouest : il a fait jusqu’à 38 degrés lundi … and we’ve manage to locate ourselves almost in the hottest part of France.  They said it was going to reach 38c…  Mr S was not planning on walking today.

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A Hard Task Master

I’m going walking… yes you all know!

But before next years walking, I have this years to get fit for.  In just over four weeks we’re walking the Camino Baztan from Bayonne to Pamplona and then in October we’re walking the Rota Vicentina in Portugal.  My son decided I needed to start training and he nominated himself as my personal trainer!

There is a circuit around our house, just over 4km long.  It has ups and downs and the terrain is very camino-esque.  My personal best around this circuit is just over 47 minutes… but that was in March,  when I was much fitter and it was a lot cooler.  However, my trainer told me I had to beat this today… and he came with me to set the pace!

As he sauntered up the hill, I huffed and puffed my way up, but in the end he did get me home in record time 46.40 minutes… and then made me swim!

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A Walk in the Park

Ok so not so much a walk in the park… more ‘A walk in the countryside‘ but that doesn’t sound quite so catchy for my title.

A few weeks ago I went awandering with my camino buddies on the Camino Vezeley.  We’d planned to meet and go walking once a month… the plan was to also keep walking inbetween these monthly trips… the other two have done this, but sady I have to hold my hand up and say that I didn’t!

It’s high summer in south west France and I have so many wedding and party gigs that I find I’m either too exhausted, too hot, too busy or on my way out to the next gig… all of which is just an excuse of course!  I’ve not done any walking and that’s the bottom line… and the Baztan camino is fast approaching so I will have to change this pretty soon.

We met in the car park by the church in Douzillac and headed off up the road where our map told us we would join the camino.  30 minutes later we were indeed following arrows and chatting and talking about our time on the Frances and where we would go next.   The arrows seem to point in the wrong direction but we followed them nonetheless and eventually entered a village.  As we tried to find our bearings mentally, Jaqui called out “ladies… we’re back where we started” and sure enough at the top of the hill was the church car park.

 

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Canicule

We’ve lived in south west France for just over 9 years, so we’re used to long, dry, hot summers.  This year has been exceptional though. We had a long, cold, wet, spring and now summer shows no sign of slowing or cooling. Normally at the end of August you can smell autumn in the air and the evenings are cool enough for a cardigan… not this year!

We had thought that heading to the high slopes of Cantal would bring us some fresher cooler air but we were wrong.  France Meteo has issued a Canicule warning… it’s going to be un-seasonably hot… so take precautions!

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Pilgrim Goodie Bag

I have a friend house-sitting at the moment… and also ensuring that our cats don’t feel neglected and unloved 🙂  She and her husband are a rather glitzy pair… lots of travel for work, lots of posh nights out and they are simply rather fabulous and glamorous. So before they came to visit I gave them a little task, to please find me a few toiletries that a weary pilgrim could sneak into her rucksack and not notice the extra weight.

Well… what can I say!  They didn’t disappoint! I think I have enough to last me for ten caminos!

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Les Monts du Cantal

We’ve got a few days off from work and singing and weddings and accounts… so we’ve headed east into the Cantal region of France.  A department in Auverne, this area is perfect for walking, cycling, swimming, rafting and a whole host of outdoor activities.  We thought it might be a tad cooler too but we were wrong there!

So we arrived on Sunday afternoon and took a stroll into the historic village of Salers.  This is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France… and it is indeed very beau but we’ve not found out yet why there was a need for a fortified village here 1000 years ago… but there are traces of Templars?

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The White Walk

I have 8 weeks to get myself in shape and ready for the Via.  That’s long enough, indeed I have planned it this way.  So I started in earnest.  Walking everyday.

For the first week I have walked a circuit around our house that we call the white walk.  It’s a beautiful walk, regardless of the weather or the time of day.  It has a little road walking, but on the whole it’s on a stone track, a white chemin and through a forest… and it has an up and a down and some flat… perfect camino training!

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