Saturday 4 May 2002

Velay walking : To Paris

With various domestic crises, I didn't do such a holiday in '01. Now in '02, I turned to a walking holiday of the same "they carry your bags" type along the first section of the St Jacques de Compostelle trail from Le Puy-en-Velay (aka GR65), where Belle France were simply acting as intermediaries for a French concern. While I was the only Belle France person doing the tour, at least this time the popularity of the walk meant that I was not alone as I travelled (as the Auvergne and Dordogne cycling had been). And unlike the other tours, I kept a diary as I went, PalmOS PDAs being useful like that.

It was not an auspicious start when the ticket machine at Waterloo International swallowed my ticket as being too sweaty (carried in an inside pocket, between me and a small ruck-sack carried in front (big backpack on back) and chewed it up. Realised I'd left the decent camera at home - just in time to get another one-use one, and now find I've left my Palm stylus behind, and to cap it all, the hotsync I did before setting out has managed to get the keyboard hacks fighting each other, so I am stuck with the default one, and no way to reset now but wait for the timeout before fixing it. *sigh*

At Calais saw brazen queues of migrants heading to the track side in broad daylight, with no sign of any official presence at all. Lunch was a sausage roll and a pastie from the Oggy Oggy Pasty shop at Euston station.

Paris was much as usual, and, this being the day before the presidential election, I was pleased to see very few pro le Pen posters or graffiti. Had a pint of Rodenbach at the Trappiste (4 Rue St. Denis, a usual haunt for a beer-lover like myself), foie gras and magret de canard en cidre at la Galtouse (a traditional French paysan cooking restaurant in Rue Pierre Lescot near Les Halles). And I really need a stylus!

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