Moissac to Auvillar
At 07:30 we are on our way. Only 20 km to go but the forecast indicated above 28 degrees and we preferred to enjoy the coolness of the morning (17 degrees) as long as we can. Leaving Moissac one can choose the GR65 with it’s usual habit to wander uphill and downhill or to take the canal. We voted for the canal del Garonne (and we didn’t regret).
Last picture of the beautiful, perfect Napoleon bridge and we start the day. A grey heron stands on the canal bank and as we come closer she opens her impressive wings takes off and land a few meters ahead. She continues to accompany us about fifteen minutes before she gets bored and enters the bushes.
Canal del Garonne
Asphalt path runs along the bank and tall trees are planted above. The water in the canal has greenish hue. On the other side of the trail behind the fence, protected by warning signs, the river flows in blue gray. As we walk I feel some sadness in me- it’s the last day on the Camino. For the next step I’ll have to wait till October. The walk is pleasant and yet feels very different from walking on the GR65. Today we have lot of company- groups of cyclists, couples, children- are walking along the canal back and forth for pleasure – all of them enjoy the clear morning with us. At half past ten we make a stop in the small village Boudou – beer, coffee and rum cake make us feel lucky and happy. Back on the trail we see a family with three young kids and a donkey. It’s a beautiful picture and we both can’t help but marvel the spirit. At 12:30 we arrive to Pommevic.
The village seems to be empty and immaculately clean. The center has shiny automatic public restrooms and cold water. Just behind the corner is an 11th-century church (L’Eglise Saint-Denis) and a small sign on the closed door: “The key is in the bar next door.” We go to the bar and find that most of the people are there and the celebration is in full swing. Strong music and smiling people. We get the key and enter into a beautiful little church. In the corner an old wagon that served for carrying the dead body. Back outside the strong heat reminds us that we have half way ahead of us. Time to go.
At one o’clock in the afternoon the heat burns the skin. The walk is between fields, on plowed land and without shade. To our right is a large lake and as it disappears we continue along a road. All the other hikes disappeared, probably preferred to stay near the shaded canal. At the entrance to Espalais there is a corner with a huge tree and a welcoming bench. We sit down for a picnic that includes a baguette with tasty French cheese and some cherries. After this good rest we go on and soon enough we cross the Tarn and arrive to Auvillar.
At two o’clock we stand at the foot of the hill on which Auvillar sits. We start climbing along the steep road and soon we enter into the beautiful village. Right in the entrance, facing the view of the valley and the Tarn river, stands the visitor center. It’s a renovated building with a small art exhibition and huge windows with stained glass. We appreciate the view and go out to see the village. The place is well kept and beautiful. An alley leads to the church. Everything is quite and we are extremely hungry and looking for a place to sit. Next to the historic Church of St. Peter there is an open cafe. The place is empty and serves only drinks but a big TV screen entices us and we sit down with strong coffee to watch the Roland Gaross games. An hour later we go to see the circular grain market at the center (built in 1824). Just nearby we locate an open bar-restaurant. We have a great surprise when a few minutes later we receive two of the best hamburgers and fresh fries. Half an hour later Allison, our host, takes us to her place –Le Farat.
Just a few kilometers from Auvillar stands an ancient stone barn. It has recently been renovated into a beautiful light and airy cottage. The rooms are amazing and the garden feels our hearts with joy. If there is a perfect place to spend our last day on this stage of the Camino, this is the place.
We spend the evening sitting in the garden watching the birds. At night I give Doron the last surprise for this stage – a “60 years birthday pillow” and wish him good dreams. Early in the morning we see in the field next to the garden a huge bird of prey. It sits there and search for food. Like him, we’re hungry too. Breakfast is lovely and rich and served with fine serving dishes. Our train to Paris only leaves at noon and Allison very generously allows us to stay and even takes us to the train. We already know that we will return here for the first night of the next section, in October and it makes it easier to leave.