Montbonnet to Monistrole d’Allier

Goodbye to Marie who runs the excellent Gite de L’escole at Montbonnet. She is an excellent hostess, coming as she does at the start of the Chenin, and telling people clearly what is expected of them. She runs the place from early March to end October, every day, singlehanded.

An easier day, slightly, although the descent from ‘lac d’oeuf’ (literally lake of the egg, where you’ll see neither lake or egg) to Saint-Privat-d’Allier’ was extreme as K lost sensation in his legs and toppled briefly, but rapidly recovered. The description in the guide, roughly translated, says: it is a rough descent although most people manage it without breaking a limb. Those that do (break a limb) are collected at the end of the season by the clearing up crews, except for those already consumed by wolves.’ Great!!!

Interestingly Susan chose this moment to describe a book she had read and enjoyed ‘Into The Void’.

Saint Privat is part of the area which grows lentils, the famous Le Puy lentils, which have their own ‘appellation’ mark of quality, reknowned for their ease of cooking and high fibre and protein content …..here are some stats:

And a great little cafe just started by a young man ‘pilgrims meet bikers’. Not sure it’s a winning combination but who knows? Coffee and crepes were good.

Now we’re making some progress. …..

Lunch by the Chapelle de Rochegude, a view point promontory where the rich merchants kept control of, and taxed, anyone crossing the valley was accompanied by a strident cockerel and a friendly donkey.

And the views? to die for – one can see why the view point was chosen.

And so to Monistrole d’Allier. Next to the Pont D’eiffel at the Gite of the same name, mr Eiffel having run out of money, but not steel bars and nuts apparently, built the Eiffel Bridge across the Allier and installed a toll house – where we stay tonight with Andre Solakian, a raconteur.

Distance: 16km Cum. 35

Items lost: 4

Tantrums: 1 small

Taxis nil.

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