It was 24:00 when we arrived Le Puy. The Madonna and the Cathedral were beautifully lightened ( We were told that until the 30.09 there are lights every night) . It was a long day and at last we entered our room at the Regina hotel. We fell asleep in a minute. Opening our eyes in the morning we looked through the window- the Madonna was right in front of our eyes and on the other side the Cathedral. What a lovely way to start the Camino. Half an hour later we were walking up the hill towards the Cathedral. Our first day on Le Puy way began and we felt excited and happy. A short stop in a small shop near the Office de Tourism in order to buy a map, a cup of coffee, a steep ascending of 134 steps and here we were- standing in the entrance to Cathedral of Our Lady of the Annunciation.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Annunciation
One can have a close look at the ancient wooden doors and then climb a few more stairs and here we were inside. The black statue of the Madonna was facing us. There is an interesting myth around the Madonna dating from the 8th century and on. Among the interesting details it was funny to learn that on the evening of the 14/08 (my birthday) the celebrations start. The following day, on August 15, the Assumption of Mary is celebrated by carrying the Black Madonna statue in a procession through town.
In the far end of the Cathedral there is a small shop. We purchased two Credential notebooks-one for each of us. These notebooks will accompany us all the way and will be stamped in the end of every day. (You can get the Credential either before 8 o’clock or after ten). After taking a few photos we descended back to the street. Le Puy has picturesque small shops, ancient buildings and squares. We would have liked to stay more but it was 10:30 and time to go, after all there are 205 km to Conques. Right leg in the air, first step…and we were following the yellow sign of the Compostella and the white /red signs of GR65 that will lead us to French border.
Out Of Le Puy
Rue Saint Jacques led us out of the village. From one of the turns we could see Le puy before the steep road turned into a steep path that disappeared in the woods. It was time to take our poles out. We climbed for an hour before the view changed. Green fields and small villages – we were on a volcanic plateau watching a deep canyon.
Around two o’clock we arrived to Saint Christophe sur Dolaison and hoped to have a cup of coffee. The local bar was open but as we entered the woman in charge gave us an uninterested look and informed that she is closing. A great disappointment.
We set with the local cat near the close church of Saint Christophe and gloomily ate a chocolate bar. The church is mentioned as early as 1161. It’s exterior has warm color of the volcanic bricks. Unfortunately the church was close and after our short break we left the village.
For the next two hours we kept on walking between fields. Since we are not used to walking with backpacks we felt extremely tired. Now, that our legs were shaking from the long day , sixteen km seemed longer then we thought in the morning. We set for awhile near the road and then continued to the chapel of Saint Roche. It is a simple chapel just at the entrance to Montbonnet village. We assumed that our B&B where around the corner but it took us another 20 minutes up the road till we arrived to La Barbelotte (16:30). We received a simple, clean room with double bed and went to rest. Dinner was prepared by the hosts and served at the beautiful main room.It used to be a dairy barn and was perfectly restored. Two other couples that stayed there dined with us -a Swiss couple and a French couple. We all started the Camino on the same time and enjoyed the exchange of thoughts and plans. It was hardly nine PM when we were in our bed – sleeping.
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