At a quarter past eight, after the most miserable breakfast we ate on this journey (bread with a little jam and coffee), we started walking down the road that led from the village towards Moissac. The weather forecast foreshadowed a rise in temperatures and ahead of us a 27-km hike, most of which are going to be up and down.
Out of Lauzerte
The exit from Lauzerte passes through a narrow, shaded path with many more pilgrims marching with us. There is no familiar face among them. Our American acquaintances also finished the walk and returned home. We come to a small church. The back of the courtyard is full of graves while in the front there are pilgrims sitting in the shade. A young woman laden with a heavy backpack with a sleeping bag tied to it exchanges a few words with us. She is on her way to Santiago and plans to go alone and sleep at night in churches and forests to save money. My maternal instinct awakens at the thought of a young girl alone at night in unfamiliar places. The concern must also echo her mother’s concern. Shortly after we leave the church we see a beautiful wooden building stands high above the ground on four stone pillars. Obviously this is an ancient structure, but it is not clear to us what it is intended for. Is for pigeons? We begin to climb and are soon rewarded with the sight that unfolds before our eyes. Green fields, a pool with clear waters reflects a crying willow and a small building. We keep on climbing and the now the slopes of the mountain are carpeted with small purple/blue flowers of some agricultural growth. On the summit stands a bench facing the landscape and Lauzerte. Next to it is a lovely iron sign with the figure of a pilgrim. Throughout the day, this kind of iron signs will accompany us at resting points and indicate that we are on the ‘chemin de saint Jacques’.
In the next three hours the air heats up and we feel like we’re in the Israeli summer. The path rises on rolling hills and then descends and rises again. The fields around us change colors-light brown soil, the wheat is yellowish-green, trees are bright green, and above all, bright blue sky. We have walked about 13 kilometers so far and suddenly an old manor house and a sign announcing that there is a restaurant.A number of pilgrims are already sitting in the shadow of a shed and drinking cold drinks. We sit down with our face to the big garden. The garden and house have seen some better days but you can still see the splendor and the luxury. The landlord is an old man, struggling to keep up with the orders . We are happy to order a sandwich and cold beers and feel like in heaven. Back on the trail the heat wave hits us. The next point is Saint Martin. The church is close and we sit on the bench under a big oak tree and rest.
On the way to Moissac
Along the way we climb up and down אthrough paths exposed to the sun and entrances into dark groves painted with green shadow and dim light. The near-final climb toward the city is long and tiring. The girl we saw in the morning walks now with a man and a woman and looks happier. A green lizard peeks through the leaves and slips away, the smell of pines flooding the senses. At the end of the ascent we begin to walk along the edge of a road. The heat is heavy and I feel desiccated and exhausted. The descent into the city leads us to a building with a flea market. Doron walks in and I sit down and talk to the owner. From there we continue. Although we entered the city there is another kilometer of walking to our hotel that is located on the river.
We enter to our room in Hôtel & Spa Le Moulin de Moissac. From our window we see in the Tarn’s water the perfect reflection of the arches of Napoleon bridge (1812-1829). The sun is still high in the sky and we decide to go and see the city. We cross the Canal de Garonne and enter the old part of Moissac.
We were too tired yesterday and left the real sightseeing for today. We start in Saint-Pierre abbey whose cloister and the tympanum of the abbey are classified in UNESCO. There is a funeral in the abbey and we respect the sad moment and go to into the cloister. We have seen many cloister and each time we re-feel the admiration. In the center of the inner yard stands a huge Cypress tree and a young “just married” couple takes pictures with the whole family. We feel that here in the abbey we are witnesses to important parts of the cycle of life. Around the yard there are 76 exceptional capitals: the scenes of the three times of the Church (Old Testament, New Testament and life of the first martyrs) are represented on the 4 sides of the capitals. We walk slowly around the cloister and look closely at the engravings. In one of the corners we locate Saint Jacques. Around the cloister the different rooms of the museum present historic monuments with detailed explanations.
We climb the stairs to the second floor of the church. This space overlooks the church space. Merchants and people who were not eligible to enter the church could come to pray here.
Outside the abbey we stand and appreciate the facade and it’s unique tympanum and then we sit in the nearest coffee and enjoy a delicious cake and hot chocolate.
We are lucky. the market is open and we enjoy Enjoy fresh vegetables, excellent fish, cheeses and other delicacies. After dinner we decide that we have done enough for today and return to our room to enjoy the afternoon of rest