A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Aubrac Plateau

During my 5th and 6th days we climbed higher and crossed the wild, windswept plateau of the Aubrac. I loved this harsh, bare landscape of open grassland dotted with bizarrely-shaped outcrops of basalt rock. The mornings were frosty with a cold wind pushing at our backs. We moved along drailles or drove roads and passed delapidated burons or shepherds' huts - transhumance is still practised here. One night we ate aligot, a local speciality dish of melted cheese (tomme d'Auvergne, a low-fat cheese made from skimmed milk) and mashed potatoes with a little butter, cream - and garlic of course.

The photo shows my companion Thierry and Pascal, the other pilgrim in Saint-Privat-d'Allier I mentioned earlier, who arrived after me chez Jean-Marc et Marie. We have been drinking tea with honey in a hotel bar in the village of Aubrac. This small village was founded in 1120 by a Flemish knight, Adelard de Flandres, who was attacked by bandits on his way to Santiago and who almost died there on his return journey. In gratitude he founded Aubrac as a place of refuge for pilgrims. That hotel bar was certainly a warm and welcoming place of refuge for us that lunchtime.


am said...

John Muir spent his first summer in the Sierra in 1869, working with a sheep-owner, a herd of sheep and a St. Bernard named Carlo. They journeyed up from the Central Valley of California to the mountain meadows of the high Sierra -- their travels an example of "transhumance," a word I had not heard before. Thanks for the new word!

I don't always have something to say about your pilgrimage, but am following along with appreciation and gratitude nonetheless.

The Solitary Walker said...

I do appreciate your interest. Thank you very much!

I'm trying to create as much a mosaic of connected thoughts and impressions as a linear narrative.