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.