Actually, this should have been titled Thèze to Tallard Airport. We never could find accommodation a reasonable distance from here so we had to revert to our trick of staying here two nights, taking a taxi to Thèze this morning and walking back to Tallard, then tomorrow, taking the taxi to Thèze again and walking forward to the next town. We have done this before in Spain where taxis are MUCH cheaper but we learned an expensive lesson this morning – Spanish taxis don’t operate in southeast France. And that goes double on a Sunday morning.
The good things about doing the taxi trick, other than reducing the weight we are carrying (in my wallet), include we didn’t have to pack our bags this morning and we didn’t have to carry them today. We carried just one small backpack with the minimum requirements. That allows us to walk faster and arrive less tired. Another drawback though is as you watch from the taxi, as it keeps going and going down the road, you get more and more anxious – we have to walk all the way back from here??? You don’t think of that when you are just walking forward.
Another issue with today’s trail and taxi is that Thèze is a good nine kilometers from the marked GR653d trail. The trail, of course, is up in the mountains, far from the old Via Domitia and would have cost much more to get to. We used maps.me to come up with a reasonable route toward Sisteron where we could rejoin the Camino trail. It’s not like we would miss seeing some other pilgrims. There aren’t any others on the trail.
Starting from the church in Thèze, we found ourselves walking north, a real rarity on this Camino. We took a very small quiet road past Le-Clot, following the bend around to thee D4 road. We were worried about this road being too busy so we had options to extend the mileage and avoid it as much as possible. It turns out that this wasn’t necessary, at least on a Sunday morning. During the 3 1/2 hour, 16.7km walk from Thèze to the bridge over La Durance, we passed by 35 cars, 8 motorcycles and 27 bicyclists. Half of these were in the final few kilometers too. We enjoyed that much of the walk. Although this was on roads, to avoid blisters, I walked as much as possible on the gravel or grass verge of the road. This was possible about half of the distance. We also took a detour up the the little village of Claret but no one offered us any. This detour added a bit of a steep climb and descent but not really troubling.
After crossing our old reference mark and friend, La Durance River, we were soon walking a short bit through a commercial orchard but we had to climb up onto the busy D1085 road to cross a bridge over the A51 highway. From there, the last 4km back to the hotel was a boring, level D1085. There were a few places that we could get off the busy road for short distances but no obvious better options for a good alternative.
As we worried about, we are starting to run into more troubles with accommodations. We found a place for tomorrow but, once again, they tell us after we have booked it that the place only opens at 5pm. Also, so far, we can’t find anything for the day after tomorrow. It’s looking a bit desperate. We’ll figure something out. We always do but France really knows how to throw curve balls to us.
To add fuel to the fire… we just walked out to go to the hotel restaurant. It’s a pretty lively place. At least it was last night when we ate there. It’s closed on Sundays. We should have guessed. The nearest restaurant that is open is 2km away from here. In Tallard. Where there is no hotel. France – please be kinder to us!
Some quick stats: today’s “flat” stage had 310m elevation gains and 278m in losses. I knew we walked the wrong way! Also, we have surely passed the half-way point today. It is hard to tell exactly how much we will have walked by the end (if we make it) but I don’t think anymore that it will be more than 700km.