mardi 26 avril 2016

"The" Way, or my little steps into the Santiago Pilgrimage Chapter 2 : 2016

"The" Way, or my little steps into the Santiago Pilgrimage Chapter 2 : 2016

Le Puy-en-Velay - Saint-Foy de Conques

Yes, this time i don't wait a year before sharing all the pictures and the comments ! Like that i can still have some vivid memories !

This year, the pilgrimage was very particular as i had to carry many persons in my bags, some friends, some people i love and some family too. My first Santiago journey was a revelation-like, and this time i knew how to do it.

Unlike the first time, were i was "almost like a tourist" , i really prepared seriously "The Way". For months i did running everyday . From a lazy 10 minutes , to 3 hours and a half ! Yep , the ones knowing me won't believe their eyes. I really do sport !
As a result my body shape and condition were good. I also bought some very necessary things like a special water tank with a plastic tube, some new special socks too (2 pairs was not enough!) , a raining cape , a rain trouser , more shirts , "good" food for everyday (dry fruits , Bio Juice on separated little tanks and also some dry bred and cheese and ham , every time separated and ready for everyday).
Also some other knowing me very personally knows that this 2015-2016 was not a good one as i had to face metaphysical , psychological and personal questioning. So i also did many readings (gospels, philosophy, Tao, poetry ... ). And on top of everything , a close friend (the french composer Frederick Martin) was on terminal stade of cancer, and i spent my week before visiting him at his hospital...
So indeed, walking had this time a much much deeper meaning !
I was walking for all of them.

This time, there was no "big" revelation like last time. I knew what i was going to get, i knew that i catch the walking or pilgrim virus.

As usual, everything was organised by the fantastic team of the Roc Estello monastery , and everything was simply perfect.
I was expecting a team of "young pilgrims" as Father Pierre Dumoulin told me last summer, but ..... I got the same team of last year !!!!! I was so happy !!!!!!
Yes i knew almost all of them, we had so much fun and so many great moments that i was so happy to do it with them again !
But .... not sure they will be next year as most of them were simply missing "this" part of the Pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostella.

So, last year i arrived "at the end", but this year i started from the begining (almost) . Yes not completely the begining as the tradition said that one has to go "from his own door". Well .... a bit far away for the lazy me !
This year we started from Le-Puy-en-Velay until Saint-Foy de Conques. It was more than 50 kilometers longer than last year !!!! Thank God i trained myself !!!!
It was also harder : many strong climbing !
Unlike what i expected (last year it was SO WARM! but come on , we were in Portugal !!!) we faced : Cold , freezing winds , snowfall , rainfall , many mud , some small ponds , also high sun .....

Once again , the experience was similiar as the Satie 's Vexations : i encounter despair , sadness , happiness , bliss , joy .... Yes it was hard , sometime even very hard , but everyday we could reach the goals . And i was way way less tired than last year , and my body was not broke into pieces !

Also, i had some revelation moments. Some big questioning i had got answered (i guess?) , and i really feel more peaceful in myself. I felt the strong desire to continue and to work hard ! I feel i am starting to be on the good path.

Yes .... this time , i really felt i did not want it to finish ... i wanted to stay on "The Way", but .... i am bringing it with me. Slowly by slowly things are changing ... let cross the fingers for the best !

Also some very strange event took place : i was carrying one of my "lucky charm" that i had from more than 5 years from Japan. One night, as i was simply changing myself before sleeping, for the very very first time, it totally broke into pieces ! it was all around the room !
Few hours after..... i received a text message, my friend Frederick had died ...........  

Well ... also this time i took much more pictures too !
Once again i am sharing them with you , and i will write some fun comments that will complete this article ! In a funnier way for sure !

First vision of the Le Puy cathedral

With a huge and magnificent giant St Mary Statue  

yep , we could not visit it , it was already too late T.T

Old stones walls

As this year we are on the Year of Misericordia , some very special doors are open ( once every 12 or 20 years , i forgot ) . A very good omen for sure !!!

the normal huge entrance

Father Dumoulin explaining the entrance meanings

Fresca from the Byzantine period , a time when Church was only one

A wooden door from a very remote medieval time

The so famous Black Mary ( black for mud, or earth)

A stone from the druidic period , were Mary appeared and asked for a church to be build (tons of miracle happens on this stone)

Yes ! we were able to see the so famous Needle from the Holy Crown of Jesus given my Louis the Saint (who bought from a wagon full of gold, the Holy Crown to the Venitians )

a medieval baptismal , were Franc were baptised by thousands (after the baptism of Clovis , king of the Franc ( NB : the Franc and not the french !)

my good friend Ambroise ! we had so much fun (and strong debates) together !

One of the mos important symbols in the Medieval time : two colombs drinking in the Holy Calice, one of the most known symbols to represent Eucharisty

The vegetals are also symbols of Eternity

Medieval tombstones of important monks

we entered the treasure room

It is said that this horse holder was cast with one of the Holy Cross Nail by Charlemagne.
A legend that even the monks there are not quite sure of its autenticity

The Cathedral

We did not even start that i got some answer there at the bottom of this special cross

By night the cathedral is wonderful


In very early on the morning we have a special Santiago Pilgrim mass ! (with many presents!)

And only for us they open the bottom door !
It is said that, it is the cathedral stomac and the pilgrim are like newborn passing by it !

And "The WAY" starts !!!

the team is there !
The Le Puy en Velay Cathedral is simply breathcatching !

our Saint Patron !

Le Puy from up the nearest mountain

We finally get out of civilisation and starts the dust road

A nice map ( there will be many of them, so you will be able to easily trace the road we walked on )

Still upper

Still climbing

on a desert village we cross this adorable kid offering "for free" any drink to the pilgrims !
The tradition of the village , as she said !

And from now, everything will look like that

Wonderful mountains

We start to cross other slower pilgrim from the other days

a nice little bridge

And our first stop , for small food only (not yet lunch) , we have already walked 3 hours
and the group will start to meditate on the Holy scriptures

Romanian Style church

a castle like house

the team at work !

Another little chapel , very very soon we will arrive at our first lunch stop !

Sainte Rommette , i never heard about her before !  

A Madone from the XI Century

It starts to be very wild
It s hard to believe from this picture, but few hours before it was snowing !
It was cold cold , but all the snow movement was so beautiful to watch (even if we were under it)
curiously even if my hands were freezing, i felt so much warmth inside me, exactly as the poetry (i forgot the author) : it is snowing outside, but my heart is warm

Another fun thing : i got lost and loose 30 minutes walking on the mud in a middle of the forest for nothing

I could not go without doing such a pic there !

Antique clothes lavatory

some ruins

the way is getting narrower and narrower

On this valley the nature was more beautiful

nice little bridge

we get nearer ! we arrived at Saint Privat-d'Alier

Tonight chapel for our mass (it was sooooooo freezing there .... )

the garder near the church was so peacefull

Saint Liszt pray for us !!!!


Saint Privat d'Alier from far ..... so lovely

today will be hard !

we are getting on top of a first mountain

still wonderful scenery

upper ...

still upper ....

And we arrived to Rochegude !

for some members it was difficult

little top cute chapel

such a gorgeous scenery , but .... next we have to go down the mountain and .... to get to the other one who is ..... taller !!!
a hard day i told you !

and we go !

a risky journey

the 10 am stop to enjoy some little food

we met some nice friends ^^

we arrived all down

visiting the nice little town

with a lost factory

and we start climbing now !

yes, in case you have some problem during the climbing , some emergency numbers are ready to take care of you ! a bad omen .........

a dream like view

lost in the middle of the mountain , a copy of the Santa Magdalena cave

still higher

Father Pierre Dumoulin

the climbing is still not finished

time to time we could meet some very nice locals :)

and we arrived !
in fact this climbing is known as one of the 3 most difficult ones of "The Way".
At the end the team was mostly exausted (a lunch was planned on the top).
Also we could meet a woman (not from our group) that was was experiencing a traumatic shock. She could reach the top, but after it she could not move alone anymore, was down on her feet with extremely heavy and irregular breath. Yes .... for today and for her .... The Way was over.
We never crossed her, or her friend so ...we don't know what happened to them after this day ....  

after our lunch, we returned on "The Way"

very inspiring to see all those sheeps, specially after the Holy reading of the Good Shepard

wilder and wilder

time to time we could cross town in the middle of nowhere

still climbing ...........

and finally the city is on view !
there are those horrible candle statues ....

pretty hard to see, on this picture you have : the Gevaudant Monster, and Holy Mary !

and playing the lazy on the village

a fun fact : as the church was cute (and the city) , i felt i really needed to take my camera .
It was 2 minutes before te Mass.
I did it but ..... i got myself totally lost ! i was running and returning to the starting point ....
some of my pilgrimage brother saw me from his room and was shouting to wonder what i was doing. Why after almost 10 hours of walking i was running on circle around the village ? (the church was only  2 min slow walk from the hotel)

Today Mass was dedicated to you Fréderick .... You who knows got all the answer ... you my dear friend .... may God welcome you in the best way you deserve


Sunrise over the Saint Roch place

the Saint Roch chapel .... yes it was a veryyyyyyyyyyyy cold day !

Here what we are doing ! our first step of the Santiago Way

The small but very nice Saint Roch chapel
a very sad legend : he was known to help all the sick people from "The Way" , once he also arrived in Santiago .... he could never see the Saint Jacques tomb as .... he was also sick and died at the city's door ...

the landscapes are pure dream, i am myself discovering the France center .... how beautiful

My brothers and Sisters are still full of force !

we enter the forest

Yesterday most of the team got sunburn so .... we are obliged to put some cream.
I was stupid enough not to put any cream (my face and arms were burning like hell !!!)  .... luckily it was the last days of sun , otherwise .... only God knows what could happen to me

Guy , my brother !!! we had so many meeningful talk. Last year he helped me to understand so many things in relationships (it was a family psychologist, couple councilor, and also was taking care of sportmen so thank to him there was things i could not understand).
We have always so much fun together, a very young and full of energy spirit !
I really hope he will join the team next year !!!!

On the way, you always find four legs friends =^.^=

and wonderful flowers

The Roc Estello team is on its way !!!!

Seems quite ridiculous those little water things, but .... this is a bad omen to what will happen next !
Yes it was raining all night !

the wonderful church of Saint-Alban sur Limagnole

so inspiring !!!

as usual we got tons of infos !
Also we got our lunch stop there ! (not in the church of course, come on !!!! )

héhé , time to time we have some very nice messages let by locals ! yes it really gives us strengh !!!!

and we continue ...

wonderful landscapes

Still on "The way" .... as Satie would write .... "Seul, pendant un instant" ....

the path is becoming harder and harder

our brilliant team is still doing wonders

rocks (not paved) way

another cute 4 legged friend was staring at us and not moving a single inch (it was not dead, simply so much used to see pilgrims ...)

Yes , time to time we still have some lovely message at the pilgrim attention !
thank you so much who ever did it !

Also, i remember the wonderful talk we had at this climbing. Some brothers and sisters life story is so inspiring and great. A real life lesson for the inexperimented youngling i am

Still wonderful landscapes

Yes, the neighbour grass is really greener !!! ^^

Our so dear Mireille :) we love you :) :) :)

extremely cute 4 legged friends who visited us during our lunch break  =¨^.^¨=

so cuuuuuuuuuute !
like every wild cat, they are almost impossible to pet.
interested by humans, but with full of fear. One step ahead, and 3 steps back ... like some humans too ...
this one looks like "Mimine" a wild cat we could take care.
it took us years to give her full trust in us, but once we had it, she was one of the most wonderful cat, giving incredible hugs.
Unfortunately .... we lost her last year before my Carnegie Debut .... the animals doctor believed she might have eat or catch a mice that was poinsoned and then she was poinoned ...
It was for us a very sad lost ....

a brother of her ! (they were something like 6 or 7 wild cats).
I was at this time too much tired to even think about catching all of them on picture ....

And we go !!!!
a bad thing for me : we start too fast and when i put back my shoes , i lanced the left feet one too tight .... after a little while my foot was too tense and i could walk only with difficulties .... how stupid i was .....

Some cute caw :) yummyyyyyyyyyyyyy

"The" climbing ....

some other trees

a pilgrim (maybe?) hut
It was fully fonctionnal inside it !

This woman story is quite incredible :
we met her during our lunch break and talk bit with her :
on the second day, as the "way down" was so abrupt , she felt and got a problem with her right leg (muscle problem, luckily no broken bones). She had to stop for 3 days , and after it, she would never stop for all the world gold ! She planned to walk 5 kilometers every day (she is walking very slowly as only one leg can work) and to do it until the end !!! She aims to reach Santiago for Christmas !!!!
one of the best exemple of courage !  

another nice chapel

i finally did a picture of myself ^^

We are reaching La Truyere

a cute little town and the end of hell for me

another cute 4 legged friend, i was too much into walking with my painful feet to even think of stopping

some are taking a nice break before continuing ... i was stupid enough not to join them ....

the rest of the team is also on their way

this way was wonderful but .... difficult

and then i was alone for quite a long time ( 2 hours? ) , as i really feel the need to meditate on my life

it was still climbing, and very time we reached one high point, we could discover so wonderful and new landscapes

some nice greetings of friends :)

yes ..... again i love this Satie sentence that fitted perfectly "this" time :
"Seul, pendant un instant" ... (lonely, for a brief moment)


surrounded by wonders

and within the torments of my own problems

team is far, but curiously i still feel the need of loneliness

as life (and with this pain) , each step was harder

and the sun was very high and strong (we were up on the mountain so ... you feel it way stronger, it burns you)

when you see such wonders, how can you even dare complaining about life

but you do .... despair temptation ...

each feet step brings me nearer my goal, but also each steps reminded me that .... i still don't know my goal position ... even if i am each time closer to it, i am also reminded that ... it is more and more out of range ...
why continue then ?
why loosing so much energies
why spending how much strengh ?
hope of course
hope fuels you
and "The Way" reminds you something
even if the goal is wonderful
even if you hope so much to reach your dreams
to embrace it
The way to reach it is even more important
if you let Him do the work he planned for you 
The way to reach it, shapes you
transforms you
metamorphoses you

So why even feel desperate because the goal is so much out of range?
You "should" be happy to be on the way
and ... being able to have such wonderful goals
as all your life you believed it was only "stupid kids" and fantasy dreams

Be joyful , your life has sense now
and .... never say never ....
maybe one day ...
one day ...
you will also be able to discover Prune

yes we arrived on top
i could barely walk anymore

even the car's road it nice !

the team is there

yes !!!! going down finally !!!!!

Arrived finally at Aumont-Aubrac !!!!
ah .... we walked SO MUCH this day , i was so happy to arrive

Of course , our Beau-Gosse is always at full force !!!

unfortunately the town is big
still have to walk for 'the' break !
and sun is still so high

discovering a nice little town

the church was great

and yes , i did some little concert too !
some of the team remembered my concert last summer at Roc Estelle and wanted to have their hears filled with some nice tunes ^^

playing tourists ^^

And here is a very nice picture of the whole team !!!!!!

tonight cheese !!!! handmade of course !!!!!!!!!

And .... the local speciality : ALIGOT !!!!!!!!!!
So good !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes we were talking about it for days !!!!
We finally ate "Marguerite" !!!!!!!!
So for the little running joke :
Marguerite is an Aubrac caw that won the price of the best caw from Paris "Salon de l'Agriculture"
one of the most important thing in France for rural products
So each time we crossed some Aubrac caw I was saying : "hooo you are so cute, i can't wait to eat you" !!!! héhéhéhé so mean !!!!!!!!!!!!

And ..... with Aligot we got Aubrac cow and ....... HO YES !!!!! this was SO GOOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those caws are very special, their milk is almost impossible to get as they will give it only to their "child" . And if one child unfortunately loose her mom , no other caw will give him milk ....

here was the place ! we really recommand it to you !!!


it was a very cold day !
and also was raining all night once more

we all were freezing

walking in the middle of wild nature

time to time dealing with some problematic passages

really in the middle of nowhere

some passage were "very problematic"
thank to some pilgrims or locals (?) there were some woods on those ponds
but ... they were old and .... not very stable ....
if you felt from it , you would fall in the pond and get your feet watered
something you really don't want when you have to walk the whole day ....

more ponds ....

wild nature

returning into the forest

our lovely team :)
We had so many fun time with Odette ! She is a fabulous Icon painter
we were all the time joking together :)

a new member to the team, Christine is a classical music passionate
time to time we were talking about things related to that

no wood this time , trying to guess where was the best way

getting on top
some huge stones where there , in the middle of nowhere
as remanent of a time where men were none

nature wonders

a little house lost in nowhereland

a flower paradise

some strange megalith ?

still on the portraits
another pilgrim who could join this year the team (but an old member)
everyone in her family is doing music, also we had great talk about gardening and taking care of all plants and trees, that was really top interesting as .... i am so bad for that !!!

another very cute 4 legged friend
he was there , alone .... eating his grass
and very nice too :)

wild land dominated with very strong (and cold) winds !
sometime you felt it could blow you away instantanetely

Yes , after such a climb and such a view , you really feel you are a caractere of the Wuthering Heights

Still the strange megaliths

a place where man has no place

really happy to get there !

some muddy roads .... not very nice

walking into the wild

Not made for men for sure

nature is an almost depressing state
but .... the water is gently and silently following his path
whatever is around, life always goes on

Civilisation is back !!!!!!!!!

But no one in town ..... is it a ghost town ????

we aimed for a small break

it was
TOO COLD !!!!!!!!!!!
so ....
we moved !

no wonder why no one is outside , too cold , too windy !

team is in good shape !

nowhere land

silent nature

a lost house

héhé ! I could not resist !!!!

the team has more and more difficulties as the road is getting more and more difficult each day

At Nasbinals !!!
finally reaching our lunch break !

a nice church

our Saint Patron

It took me a while to understand the meaning of "this" engraving
It is not at all some depict of a war
but on the other hand the symbol of your own inner battle over all the materialistic things that are polluting one life

And we arrived to Aubrac !

With the so famous "Tour d'Aubrac" who had a bell special to the lost pilgrim (because of the dense fog there)

Ha we were so tired .... we really could enjoy a very nice coffee !!!

a stone map !
not as old as it seems : 1990 !

the Tower inside is nice , but ... well ... we already saw much better

We arrived as Saint-Chely-d'Aubrac

a cute little old town

and his so famous "pont des pèlerins" !

deserted house ... from a time i was surely not born yet

nice church with an ugly curtain !

trying to figure out how the church organ is working

yes the team wanted their concert !
it seems it became almost a tradition ^^
on organ i could play only some Satie and Glass , as most of the piano repertoire is not quite fitting

Veronika is enjoying some gardening tools !

we arrived to Saint-Côme d'Olt 
it was after such a long day our night destination ...

an old town

with wonderful old streets

and his wonderful church

the Abbaye we slept held by some sisters

very cosy place

its garden is a pure dream

getting out to enjoy some drinks together

the city by "almost" night

the pictures render it as it looks like an airport , but it is much nicer that it seems !


we leave the city , "The Way" here seem to have been put in a very remote city corner !

a magnificent bridge

our team is in very good spirit !

a greener nature there !

more humidity is better, as we need to drink less

the team is still full of high spirit !

The Saint-Hilarian Cross

arrived in Espalion !

a very welcoming nature

L'Eglise de Perse
a wonderful medieval church who is not even on the map !

Byzantine frescos

a pure jewel !

highly inspiring !

the best place for our 10 am Gospel (translated from Aramean) recitation
Bruno got highly inspired here !!!

Still the colombs drinking the Holy Calice

And the Inner Fight

Jesus in His splendor

everything from the XI Century

Judgment day !

And we arrived in Espalion !!!

a nice and vivid town

luckily we arrived for the market day !

OF COURSE ! i tried the local products !!!
Here the Pascades , some very yummy things !

Le Pont Vieux

More delicious local products .... too bad we could not stay

Le Pont Vieux from far away
this part of the medieval city is very lovely !

some old destroyed castle ....
Moussorgski would have been very inspired by it ^^

The Way is nice there

And still some local hospitality !!!!
Free hot drink !!!!!!

Isn't it wonderful ?

another nice Abbaye lost in nowhere
Saint-Pierre de Bessuéjouls

we had to climb some pretty dangerous high stairs to discover the Church's real wonders

All the Chapiteaux there are just pure sculpting jewels

the original entrance : by outside !
so when the monks were attacked , they simply bring up the ladder and no one could climd to get them !! (the "dangerous" stairs were added much much later)

so peacefull

our Father Pierre really looks like some Comandator here !

and we finally reached out lunch place !!! Yaaaay !!!!

but .... no one knew what we had to face after it .....

still spiritful !
but .... not for long !

yes ! a very hard climbing with a road totally full of deep mud !!!!
it had rained too much yesterday and the road is almost not practiable !

the team is not very pleased
and Father Pierre is trying his best to cheer us up !

forget your confort and clean clothes !

whatever you will try , you will get drirty !

a first step / stop
wth a wonderful view

beautiful nature

another step , i would have love to do the lunch break here !!!
it is so beautiful !

eh .... path is getting more difficult !

really slipery !

so glad to see stones time to time ! means less mud !!!

but ... it never last long

on the most remote and difficult place, you always see the most beautiful things
is it a life allegory ?

some volcanic stones
or Basaltic organs

and we arrived to the top !!!

luckily it was only for 30 min long

very glad to be up !

the rest of the team is also coming

but the break is never long
even if you wish to stay longer , it is not good for your muscles to stay inactive too long

some nice town

some achitectural explanations

Nature there is simply wonderful
something you would love someday to share ...
with someone you really love

returning to the forest

this is what we did !
today i still can't believe we walked that much !

is it always 'the way' ?

no place for men

men trace dissapear more and more

again mud ... and more mud ...

yes .... we forgot what clean was meaning

We arrive to Verrières

a very lovely castle

another 4 legs friend

i love those nice message that locals leave for pilgrims !

a private chapel

not very safe to go there

a really lovely town !
romantic at his best

still climbing

we met some other pilgrims

wild nature

We arrived to the wonderful Estaing city !!!

Ambroise , our BG !

looks like some futur Facebook profile picture for Ambroise  ^^

Once more , how could i resist ^^
THE city of one of our very funny president !

the famous d'Estaing bridge

its church

looking very serious

Old lovely city

with a wonderful church

Saint-Fleuret reliquaire
extremely popular there !
he is known to cure disease and to make straight back some distorted things

No, no he is not dead, simply sleeping and not paying attention anymore to pilgrim !

and yes .... we made it !!!!
our night desination Golinhac !!!

very small and deserted town

a little nice church
where they have a mass every 2 months !
So the locals were delighted that we were here !

Yep , once again , i played organ for the mass !

a very very old Hotel

It was the 81th birthday of our lovely Mireille !
Can you believe that ??? she is doing so great !!!!
i really hope i can be as vigorous as her at her age !!!

having some fun

playing ninja

and our last night stop !

a nice little camping with a swimming pool (not open yet)
a fun fact : as they just bought the camping , they had some Holy water from northern France
and asked Father Pierre to baptise the camping !

DAY 6 - last walking day

the team is taking forces for the last day of walk !

we met a nice team from Britany !
i still can't believe they slept all night outside on their tent under the heavy rain .....

a really creepy school !

and we go !!!!

the climbing is hard
cold and rainy !
ho gosh !

and .... the fog is there !

everything turns vaporous

we walk into nothingness

but our 4 leg friend do not care about this not good weather at all

into the forest

still cold and rainy

and full of muddy roads

this tree seems not to enjoy my presence

such a fantastic nature

yes , since i was 14 and discovered it in Venezia , i really DO love fog

me walking on the fog and the gentle rain

still me

where is the path ?

where is my team ?

here a very nice guest house (Le Soulier de Saint-Jacques)
with a little chapel and everything
and curiously , they know Father Pierre very well
too bad the team was so far away as we were offered some nice coffee !

the team went far away us, so we stayed a long time together, Father Pierre and me
talking about various things, Life, religion, Faith , future ...

magnificent nature

a very nice bridge

after maybe 30 minutes , we could finally join the rest of the team !

And we arrived at Espayrac !!!

a nice church

And our 10 am stop

everywhere i put my eyes on , is just wonderful

ha ! not a good omen !

And we enter Sénergues

again a very nice town
After a lunch there .... we go to our final destination !!!

climbing again ...

mud and water ... we start to get used of it

ha ! the stones !!!

a looooooooooong way

and here a very funny fact :
we were 6 from the team all together
walking way before the other team members
we all had very intense discussion (3 groups of 2)
I was debating politics and school pedagogy with Ambroise
and ....
we ....
did NOT follow The path !!!!!!!!!!
we missed "one" little mark
and we ....
lost 30 minutes !!!!!
almost 3 kilometers more !!!

we arrived to a nice castle
and as there were no more Pilgrim indications we were top worried
There was one road sign to arrive to Conques, but 'by car', so the team was not very pleased to use it
one local arrived on his quad (with his wife on his back)
We asked him where to get to the GR 65 (the Pilgrim road)
and he told us to get back , and on top of the hill to turn right
Well .... that was not "that near" !!!!!
we had to walk and walk long on mud road again ...

after quite a while we arrived to the path again , the signs were very small
We crossed the guy back on the GR 65 , still on his quad with his wife , taking all the place of the road
we thanked him
but ...
later ...
the GR 65 joined the main road
and ....
yes ....
the "nice castle' was not far away from there ....

This bastard could have simply told us to turn left and follow the road sign !!!
It will have spare you a lot of kilometers !!!!!!!!

We were SO TOP ANGRY !!!!!!!!!!!

yes .... the GR 65 is still not at sight !!!!

back on The Way , we crossed a fantastic flower land

back on the road .... mostly silent as we started to be tired
and pissed off !

still wonderful land !

a nice little town

with its nice chapel

The Symbol of all the Saint Jacques Pilgrims
or the Jacquets !

a 4 legged friend ... i was so tired that petting him did not even crossed my mind !

more cows

a funny donkey

yes , it is just wonderful !

yes , we get nearer !

And here it starts !!!!!
the very very last way down !
pretty hard to do , but Conques is just at our gasp !!!!

narrow and difficult !

top slippery

we DID it !!!!!!!!!!


The city is simply splendid
i took tons of pictures as everywhere i put my eyes on was just a pure dream

Sainte-Foy Cathedral

and when you wonder if your choices are good ... a nice sign !
A strange fact ! i did very well to take this picture as ...
when i showed it to Ambroise he wanted to see it by himself to take it on pictures
but ...
we looked for almost 10 minutes and we could not find it back !!!!

A heart-shapped red stone within a white stone !

our sleeping place !

some old monk stone tombs

the stair to our dormitory

a wonderful chapel

with Bizantine frescos

Inside the Cathedral

a pure wonder

also the monk there are musicians and sings wonderfully !
plus the organ player is very good !!

here he is !
he released some cds ! most of them at the organ , and one at the piano
the piano is a best off of various known things
and the organ albums have pilgrims music from the old times !

from the Renaissance !

The so famous Entrance !
really wonerful

and equally wonderful , the monk very very funny explanation !
yes even in tourist guide they are talking about it !

The team is enjoying food after such a long and hard day

The chapel at night .... mysterious at possible
we gathered here (as we were going to leave on the next morning)
to exchange what we will remind from this year Pilgrimage
And curiously ....
Like Satie Vexations ...
i really did not wish to end it ....
i really felt sad to leave the way this time
even with the hard time
the pain
the despairs
once again ....
there was ....

We could enter by the Misericordia door !

And after the last mass , the pilgrims could visit all the Cathedral secrets for free !!!!

yes we were on top of it !!!

having access to place you can't normally go

and ... it s simply fabulous

Saint Jacques from above

This is Sainte-Foy reliquaire !

Ambroise and our Saint Patron

a very nice lustre


Not very happy to go ....

a Sainte-Foy Fresca from the Medieval times

Saint Jacques

and at his feet , a pilgrim , trying to get to him
in a way .... us !

the team is having fun

bye bye Conques

On the way back , we crossed some very nice town
and this waterfall

pretty impressive and romantic

and once again , we could not resist with Ambroise to have some fun times !

Arriving in Rodez , we visited the Cathedral

and .... it is very very impressive

too bad we had only 15 minutes to visit it !

the Rodez city is nice , but .... cold and windy !!!

Near Rodez we visited a Basilica

very nice one

with fantastic vitrails

It is said that Holy Mary 's vail is here
but .... when the Basilica has no one inside , it is not possible to see it !
too bad ... it will be then for next year !!!!!

Guy invited us to his house for a fantastic and delicious lunch !!!

And they prepared us ALIGOT !!!!!!!!

Yes, this year i really did many more pictures, and unlike what i did for the other event , i did not wait months before doing a blog entry , so i could still remember some very fun facts !
I really can't wait to do it next year as well !!!

Maybe this little blog entry will give you also the desire to join us and all the pilgrims on "The Way" to Santiago !!!!!

ULTREIA !!!!!!!!!!!