We left the farm at 08:30 and turned right to reach the trail. Cloudy weather with ten degrees Celsius, landscape of soft green hills, the walk was pleasant and before we knew we had already reached Lascabanes. In the outskirts of the small village we found a temporary building that serves as a coffee shop -‘la petite pause’- and made a pause for coffee and beer. The owner told us that less then 25 people live in the village. Similar to many other villages, the young don’t want to stay in the village. Our friends from South Africa joined us in the nearest table and we discuss our plans for the next few days. It’s so nice to meet people on the Camino, even if it’s only for a short while. As the path turned up, a beautiful green lake appeared among the trees. We kept walking on the white limestone and on the background, like a gorgeous setting, the fields presented a variety of colors that made us hold our breath.
At two o’clock we sat down for lunch at the main square of Montuq. Unlike the other villages, Montuq was full of people sitting in cafes and restaurants. Cars drove down the main street and children on bicycles were playing. The sun came out and a liberating sense of freedom overwhelmed us. The name Montuq raises a smile but actually it comes from the Latin word ‘mons’ which meant -mont and the word ‘cuc’ which meant a summit. Indeed, in order to see the village one needs to climb through the medieval alleys. The Hundred years wars and the religious wars left Montuq in ruins but the village underwent a long period of reconstruction. Today the restored houses -some of them made of half-timber- and the tower of the Counts of Toulouse that raises above them give the village an authentic touch. There are two Romanesque chapels in Montuq. We visited the church of Saint Privat and then, around four o’clock, we found our B&B- Four Maison d’Hôtes and rang the bell.
Bob and Claude greeted us with a smile and said that our friends had already arrived. We wondered who they meant but the riddle was quickly resolved. The Americans, for the third time and by chance, checked in the same hotel where we had chosen to stay. Already in the hall it is impossible not to appreciate the spectacular renovation that Bob and Claude made. The interior of the house preserved the old character-brick walls, spiral stone staircases, iron windows- we were simply fascinated. Our room was spacious, bright and decorated in warm colors and the inner courtyard was beautiful. We were not aware that Claude was known for her culinary skills. Only the next day at the wonderful breakfast, sitting at a table with special plates and serving dishes, in a room with a huge royal fireplace, we would understand that we were lucky.