We waked up relatively late and enjoyed a rich breakfast. On a table set for ten people, there were jams, pastries, cheeses- all in fine serving dishes.
Half an hour later we were on the GR65. Our plan was to go from Nasbinals to saint -Chely d’Aubrac and we went uphill towards Montgros. This is a picturesque village and we spent a few minutes enjoying the well -kept houses with the small gardens. The weather was good and in less than an hour we arrived Nasbinals. Unfortunately, as we approached Nasbinals we were busy and did not notice the red/white sign of the GR65 -we will soon pay for this lack of attention.
Saint-Marie church is a Romanesque building. It was built by monks around 1074 and offered shelter for pilgrims on their way on the bad weather plateau of Aubrac. On the floor near the entrance there is a work of art in the shape of a shell (coquille) -the symbol that most pilgrims on the Camino Santiago de Compostela carry with them. As I was standing and looking on the shell a yellow butterfly landed on my pole, sharing with me a peaceful moment of rest. We crossed the street to the supermarket and bought excellent cheeses and bread, filled our bottles with water and returned to the GR65. In fact, while we believed that we are returning to the path, our prior inattention led us to choose the wrong direction. We climbed up, chatting happily and only after awhile we noticed the absence of the red/white sign. Now we climbed down and returned to the church. Sure enough the sign was there, right under our noses. Well, these were two extra kilometers and now the hour was 11:30 .
A moderate and gradual increase of 200 meters stretches over 8 kilometers and separates between Nasbinals to Aubrac. At the exit from Nasbinals we entered a pleasant forest. The hike in the tunnel of green shade was magical. Occasionally we stopped to look at big posters along the path. On the posters there were pictures of churches and Madonnas from different regions . Fifteen minutes later we were out of the forest, still climbing but now the landscape was different – round hills with oaks and yellow grass.
Another day on Aubrac Plateau
Another fifteen minutes and we arrived the gates of a farm. The signs warned against bringing in dogs, bicycles and vehicles. We opened the gate and set under a tree to have a break. From this point we kept climbing, part of the way on the edge of a lovely forest, part of the way in the open fields. It was two o’clock and the air was getting warm. When we got to the peak of the ridge we stood and admired the view. Behind us was Aubrac plateau -vast, yellow, majestic, far in the horizon – the mountains we crossed two days ago. In front of us dark green forest and a descent from the plateau.
We descended a short distance, crossed the road and arrived the outskirts of Aubrac. On the hill above us was the old monastery-hospital that used to serve pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Nearby stands the 12th century Church of the Domerie.
We stoped near a nice statue with the inscription : “Dans le silence et la solitudeen n’entend plus que l’essentiel” – so true.
In the center of the village we set in a coffee-bar for beer and ice-cream. After this rest we were ready to start the 500 meter descent (along 7.5 kilometers) to Saint Chely D’aubrac and towards the Lot river. An hour passed – part of it in the well known yellow surrounding and part of it in the shade of the forest.
It was around four o’clock and the light in the forest got mixed with large patches of dark shade. The descent, part of it in a tunnel of trees, became steeper and we had to watch our steps as we paced between the roots. The slippery ground made it harder for our tired legs. At last, in the twilight, we arrived. An unpleasant surprise awaited us in the hotel that we booked -LES COUDERCOUS. The hotel was fully booked and the hotel owner, in order not to loose money, rented a room in a nearby building. The room was small, but the big problem was dozens of flies flying in. The receptionist who accompanied us tried to chase away some flies without success, and then apologized and left. We stayed in the room, without nets on the windows. Unfortunately, there was no alternative at this point, so we spent the night with flies buzzing in our ears. It was definitely the most repulsive night of the journey.