I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Friday, 28 October 2011

La Forêt De Taillard And Beyond


Early next morning I left the town of Bourg-Argental, followed the course of an old railway track along a river valley, then climbed for many hours through extensive woodland...


Every now and then you had a brief glimpse of a view, but mostly you were hemmed in by the trees...


I took a well-earned rest at this shelter and information hut...


In fact I was traversing the huge forest of Taillard...


I came upon this oddly shaped cairn built on a tree stump. I was getting very hot and tired by now, and, try as I might, I couldn't prevent my fevered, scatalogical imagination from telling me this was a lump of petrified dinosaur poo. Well, it could be, couldn't it..?


Exhausted, I almost collapsed into the auberge, La Riboule, in the hamlet of Les Sétoux. I needed a rest. I needed to eat. Most of all I needed a drink. It was only an ordinary place, but to me it was extraordinary that day, and the food and the wine were very good, as they are virtually everywhere in France. After an entrée of Puy lentils with hard-boiled eggs, and a main course of pork escalopes and potatoes cooked in milk and butter, and half a bottle of rosé wine, I felt on top of the world. And, in a sense, I literally was on top of the world, or my woodland micro-world, for, at 1142 metres, this was the highest point on the day's path...


After Les Sétoux the uninterrupted forest fragmented into a mixed landscape of sloping fields and densely packed conifer plantations...



It was then I noticed that, according to the map in my guide book, I'd just passed a little spot called 'Germany', and that a place called 'Moscow' lay only a few kilometres away. First 'Rome', now this! It was  a veritable microcosm of toute l'Europe in these hills...

Later I stayed the night with a lovely French family, experiencing another accueil jacquaire. Alain and Corinne were most friendly and welcoming. In the morning their sweet and impeccably well brought up children, Thomas and Adeline, were very keen to don their own rucksacks and accompany me 100 metres to the road. The pilgrim mentality seems to be instilled at an early age round here!

3 comments:

Ruth said...

Now at last I have caught up on your recent posts, very happily I might add.

I imagine that leaving each village you must have had a wistful and bittersweet sense of loss, while also feeling utterly satisfied. Will I ever pass this way again?, I would be asking myself.

The photograph from the highest point is tremendous, most especially with that lovely deciduous tree in the frame, just so.

What a delight that you shared Thomas and Adeline, and that they shared the pilgrimage with you for a short while.

George said...

More great photos! I can't imagine a place where I would like to live more than the homestead shown in the first photo. I also find the photo of the two children to be quite charming. In a world in which most children are obsessed with electronic gadgets, It's reassuring to see these two kids strapping on their backpacks to usher a fellow pilgrim into the day.

The Solitary Walker said...

Ruth - the short stay with that French family was unforgettable. Such are the experiences which make up the Camino. The children were a delight. I remember telling them stories over dinner, and teaching them some English words and phrases... lovely, lovely times.

George - I can just see you living there, my friend! I like that photo too - always good to have people absorbed in an activity rather than looking at the camera!