This morning, I was still steaming from the ridiculously early and unnecessary dinner as well as the lack of wi-fi or anyone to ask about it. I pitied the person who was going to be around to put breakfast out for the only inhabitants of the motel. When we got to the front door at 8:05am, I was at least happy to see it open and, sure enough, yogurt, juice and a decent variety of breads, pastries and croissants were already laid out at a table for two. When the young woman who we had already identified as the cleaner came over to take our coffee order, I calmly asked about the wi-fi. She quickly ran to the front desk and brought us back a paper with the wi-fi code. Apparently the idiotic, stuffed-shirt waiter “forgot” to tell us how to get onto the wi-fi, just like he forgot that there was a pizza parlor across the street, just like he forgot to mention that there is no one on duty after 4:00pm on a Sunday. The friendly Portuguese cleaning woman knew the job better than the receptionist / waiter.
Back to the walking though, it was an incredibly easy day today along the Canal-du-Midi. The flat, shaded path’s only drawback was that some of the times, there was no side dirt path for walkers so we had to compete for space with the bicyclists. Also, at one point, I failed to realize that we needed to cross a bridge to the other side of the canal where the path continued. As a result, we had to use a later road bridge that required a 8m climb rather than the missed 4m climb over the foot bridge. That was our only “climb”of the day. It’s okay to feel sorry for us now.
We had three stops today which accounted for the lack of speed. Even with a 9:00am departure, we had to stop as a room would not be ready for us so soon in Toulouse. We had a juice at the first restaurant on the canal and a hamburger from the food truck parked next to the canal at about the 14km point. Finally, we stopped in the Cathedral of Saint Étienne in Toulouse. I provide the photos of that below so that Jerry can show his son a church that isn’t shaped anything like a cross. The cathedral is a zillion years old and apparently was started as two different churches, neither of which was completed, so they just connected the two into a rather odd shaped church.
We met a fellow pilgrim today, the first in several days. There is hope that we will see more soon. He was also staying somewhere in Donneville and walking the Canal-du-Midi alternative into town. The Frenchman plans to walk the whole of the Chemin d’Arles from Arles, over the Col du Somport to Puente la Reina in Spain.
A funny story about the conversation I had with the pilgrim, which was entirely in French, assuming my poor use of the language counts: When I mentioned that we were walking to St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, I must have slurred at the end. The Pilgrim spelled out “Port” for me and explained it meant like the village was a door to the pass over the Pyrénées. Ummm… I knew that. Then he told me that “porc” is actually the meat of a pig and that had no association with St.-Jean. Oh my!
As in many bigger cities, Melanie and I are celebrating by sitting in a laundromat, cleaning all the smelly stuff and taking advantage of better wi-fi than what is available at the hotel. The rain has started so I am not sure how much we will be walking around but I’ll write more later if I can.