vendredi 25 avril 2008

What a day!

Today is sunny but we did start out at below zero. As the day went it increasly got warmer. It is the hardest day we have done in my opinion. We climbed through farmers fields for 8 km up to 1380 metres. There was still snow in spots. The fields were muddy and imbedded in water. The views however were overwhelming. It is a stark beauty like nothing I have ever seen! In the small village of Aubrac we visited a wonderful little church with a wall of paintings by the contemporary artist Hervé Vernhès. It depicts the history of the village from it founding by Adalard to early 20th century.

We then climbed down the mountain on a path that was like a creek bed, full of rocks, mud and water. It was through a forest so there were a tremendous number of birds singing including cuckoos. The French believe that if you have a penny in your pocket when the cuckoo sings, it will bring you good fortune. I think the fortune I have received is being on this pilgrimage, being able to do it physically, I am truly fortunate!

The gîte here is very comfortable. We are sharing a room again with Marie-Jo and Edmond. Supper smells wonderful. We are also lucky to be able to update our blog and even download photos.

I find the physical demands of the pilgrimage much harder than I had anticipated. However, when I think of the difficulties many have with Parkinson's disease and many others who live their lives with constant limitations and pain of diseases such as rhuematoid arthritis, I cannot complain. We have completed one short week and this trek has already given us so much. We have met some wonderful people, others who are going all the way to Santiago like us and many who are doing a partial pilgrimage. All have a generosity of spirit that continues to warm our hearts. We are supported by our many friends and family at home who have been wonderful with us and we have the support of all those we meet on the road. Can't beat that!!

Et encore des photos!!

D'autres photos

Le vin est bon et la compagnie est au delà de toutes attentes. Voici Marie-Jo et Edmond, de nouveaux amis français.

Quelques photos enfin!!

Michèle et moi a St-Etienne et notre Christophe (pas le saint..) qui a partagé notre chambre le 2e soir

Michèle marche et je prends un taxi

Aujourd'hui, 25 avril, mes énormes ampoules m'ont empêchées de marcher. Demain devrait être mieux§ je m'assagie...
Michèle arrivera bientôt au superbe gîte St-André avec Marie-Joe et Edmond.
Je tente de mettre quelques photos. A suivre!!!

jeudi 24 avril 2008

Bonjour de Aumont-Aubrac,

Nous marchons depuis 5 jours déjà. La 1ere journée fut magnifique avec des paysages à couper le souffle.
2e journée plus difficile avec pluie, vents violents et descentes rocailleuses plus le froid.. Petit découragement.. Mais bon, a deux c'est nettement plus facile.

Avec 2 ampoules aux talons; disons que ça ralenti-donc plus de temps pour se rendre à destination.
Les rencontres sont cependant extraordinaires; les gens sont super sympatiques et a l'écoute les uns des autres. On parle de Parkinson. On a des surprises comme les cousins de Gilbert Carriere- Des Bouladiers - qui nous attendaient . Bises, bises et on a bien ri.

Sur la route, on a le temps pour penser, penser et penser à chaque personne, comme prévu.

LA VIE EST BELLE!!!!!!! Je vous aime


mercredi 23 avril 2008

La Première Semaine/The first week

Today was a relatively short, 15 km trek, up and down small mountains from one valley to the next. The sun shone today the first time since Saturday! The path went through farmer's fields and forests today. We passed by several animals some curious. I gave one beautiful horse a pat on the nose and wouldn't you know it he bit me! Through the three layers of clothes I had on, he still managed to cause quite a bruise on my arm. Lesson learned, say hello from afar and take pictures, but don't touch! We also saw a newly born calf, probably not much more than one day old, he had trouble standing on his legs.

We are at a very nice hostel, "La Ferme du Barry". He made strawberry pie and lamb for supper. Along with a cabbage and vegetable soup that tasted every bit as wonderful as my grand'maman used to make, he made a concotion called "alligot". It is a mixture of mashed potatoes, garlic and cheese, freshly made. It was very good, lots of calories I am sure!
Vincent nous prépare un aligôt

Merci à mon ami Michel T. qui a recommandé ce gîte!

Tuesday April 22

We walked 25 km today and the terrain was difficult, cold, windy and rainy! We walked most of the day with the same french couple Edmond and Marie-Jo, wonderful generous people. We arrived in St. Alban at about 5 pm; we had started at 8 am. We have met beautiful people on the route, always ready to talk as we walk. And of course they are all fascinated by our accent! Don't they know they are the ones with an accent!?

Arlette avec son poncho
Il m'a mordu ce beau cheval!

Monday April 21

Today has started out sunny and cool and we began the day with a 4 km climb quite steep. It took us 2 hours to get to the plateau. We passed by a wonderful little chapel that had been built into the rock so that only the facade is actually man-made. I wished it had been open, but I did manage a picture through the window. If I can find a way to put pictures up on this blog, then maybe you will be able to see it!
Sainte Marguerite dans le roc

The rest of our walk today was pleasant and uneventful. We arrived at our gîte around 4 pm. The woman on the phone had said to go in make ourselves comfortable and she would be there around 6 pm to cook supper for us. There was a wood stove burning strongly, hot water for our showers and everything we needed to make ourselves at home.

Along with our new walking friends Marie-Jo and Edmond, we shared the house with another traveler, Jeorge (yes, with a J). Jeorge made us laugh all evening! He is a comedian by profession along with lots of other professions to keep him financially viable.
Marie-Jo et Edmond

Jorge d'Arras

Sonia, our host arrived at 6 pm as she had said and made us a wonderful meal, most of it with products from her farm or her neighbour's farm. In the morning there was homemade yogurt! The whole experience was like we had rented a gîte with entertainement (provided by Jeorge)and meals by Sonia.

Sunday April 20

We left Montbonnet this morning with all the clothes on our backs that we had in our backpacks. It is brutally cold with a wind that freezes you to the core! The first part of the terrain was through farmers' fields and the wind caught our backpacks and pushed us on the path. Thank you to my friend Michel T. who recommended I bring a long silk scarf. I used it to make a turban around my head and ears to keep warm!
C'est très froid!

Today I walked with Luc and his family in mind. They were my motivation and kept my spirits up and my feet moving despite the weather and difficult terrain. Luc has early-onset Parkinsons. His courage and determination keeps him going to help raise his two boys, Zacharie and Théo with his wife Julie. He travels with them, goes camping even in winter and does everything a yound Dad does with growing boys. Keeping Luc and his family in mind made the day easy.

We navigated downhills on narrow paths that were full of rocks and water streaming downhill. We are actually quite proud of ourselves; neither of us fell or slipped! Because it was cold and windy we chose to have our lunch in a restaurant. It somehow didn't quite feel right. The food was good but out of sorts with the idea of a pilgrimage.

We are at a small hotel tonight, no room at the gîte, but not alone since many others on the same journey as us are here. We had a good meal with good company and great conversation. There are several french citizens on the trek for a week or two going only to Conques or Figeac. All hope to eventually in another year finish the pilgrimage.

Saturday April 19

We started the day with Mass at the cathedral and a blessing from the priest. There were more than 40 pilgrims ready to begin. We had our credencials stamped and all excited left by the main door that allows you to see through the town streets and up into the hills we were about to climb. One of the traditions of the pilgrimage is that people leave wishes for St. Jacques in a basket at the cathedral and as a pilgrim you can carry a wish to Santiago to deposit at the cathedral there. Legend has it that if your wish makes it, it will be granted. I picked one and it is from a young man who would like to meet someone with whom he can build a life and a family. I hope I am strong enough to take it all the way to Santiago for him.

The weather was good today, sun and cool enough to be comfortable walking. Saturday is market day so we bought what we need for our lunch and off we went up the first hill. Our first gîte in Montbonnet was typical I think. Arlette and I lucked out I think since we were assinged a room with only 3 beds and our own shower.
À la sortie de l'église à Puy-en-Velay

C'est le début!

Some of you know that our friends Marie-Claire and Gissane gave us each a small statuette of St. Christophe, patron saint of travellers. Today we met a real Christophe, a nice yound man from Finistère in the Bretagne region of France. He ended up sharing our room with us! Merci à Marie-Claire et Gissane!

vendredi 18 avril 2008

We have arrived!!

We are here in Puy-en-Velay. Our acommodation is good, a room to ourselves, very clean. We let ourselves be charmed by a cute ticket clerk in Paris who arranged a better train ticket than we had managed on the web, but wouldn't you know it was more expensive and of course charming as he was, we went ahead anyways! Oh well, live and learn!

It is quite cold here today. We have every layer of clothes we brought with us on. We visited the town cathedral and the wind whistled through it. Let's hope tomorrow will be warmer!

jeudi 10 avril 2008

Great Friends - Entres amies

We had a great dinner party on Tuesday night to celebrate Arlette's birthday. To my surprise our friends had thought of both of us and brought us many thoughtful gifts for our trek; a tiny St. Christopher medal to carry with us, he is the patron saint of travelers, especially those carrying a heavy weight; folding bowl and cup, very light and flat when unfolded to fit in our backpack; wonderful bottles of wine to drink to our success when we get back! And tiny tools kits to repair our glasses if needed! We are truly blessed! Merci les amies, Marie-Claire, Gissane, Lucie, Louise-Marie et Céline.


mardi 8 avril 2008


C'est la fête d'Arlette aujourd'hui! Que je suis chanceuse d'avoir une si bonne amie qui est prête à faire ce trajet avec moi!

Michèle x

Notre crédentiale

Hé, oui, nous avons reçu notre crédentiale dimanche et ce en présence d'amis très chers et de la famille de Michèle. Lisez son texte et regardez ses photos pour plus de détails.

Je dois vous avouer que c'est un peu grâce a une crédentiale "remplie"que me voici lancée dans ce projet.

A ma première soirée d'information de l'Association québecoise des amis de Compostelle il y a près de 7 ans, un pélerin avait apporté SA crédentiale. Vous verrez que c'est impressionnant lorsque je vous monterai la mienne, autour d'une bonne bouteille de vin naturellement!! Je ne crois pas que le Chemin va m'enlever le gout du vin rouge. Mais sait-on jamais?


Monsier Dextras sera avec nous en pensée tout le long du Chemin, comme la plupart d'entre vous d'ailleurs. Merci, ça nous aidera.

dimanche 6 avril 2008

Credencial del Peregrino

Today we received our « credencial ». The Association québécoise des pèlerins et amis du Chemin de Saint-Jacques organized a day of ceremony that began with a short 5 km walk. In medieval times when a person set out to walk to Santiago, friends and family would walk with them to the next village to see them off. After, a mass was read by the Bishop of Gatineau Mgr Ébacher. We then shared lunch and then received our Credencial del Peregrino. This is our passport that allows us access to the refugios or albergue, hostels or inns for pilgrims along the path. It is also proof that you have walked the Camino and allows you to receive your Compostela (sometimes called a Compostelana), a wonderful document written in latin that serves as your proof that you have walked the Camino. Arlette had our names translated into Latin for the Compostela.

I was very touched and felt very lucky to have my family with me, my parents, my sister, my supportive husband Jean-Claude and my wonderful son Sébastien all the way from Vancouver. Several of my friends also came to share this experience with me. Joan & Jacques, Louise & Michel, Jocelyne et Roger, François, Don and Marnie & Paul all walked with me in the morning and several of them were able to stay for Mass and lunch.

When I went up to receive my credencial I was cheered on by my friends and family. I feel as if all of them will be with me and Arlette throughout this journey. They will certainly all be in my heart!

Ten days to go before we fly off! I can't wait.


Qui suis-je

Ma photo
Nous voilà deux femmes à la retraite prête à passer à la prochaine étape de notre vie. Ce pèlerinage nous donne l'opportunité de vivre des changements dans nos vie.