6,500 Km Cycle; Day 22, Alban

Albi tarn valleyDay 22 Friday June 22
Rest Day Alban 0km Total 1,200km
At dusk yesterday I heard the sound of a bird I have only ever heard once before. Last time was in Carcassonne, at the ancient Cite, a magical repetition of single notes about a quarter of a tone apart. [with the benefit of hindsight, and having heard these sounds again, and been able to track them down, I think they were a kind of frog] Disappointingly, the weather is misty and very heavy rain falls during the night. No view in sight. We are up in the clouds. As we wash, the warden comes, tells us we can sleep in the office, or eat there at the table, with a light, he is very friendly. He tells us of a bonfire at the lake tomorrow, with sausages and swimming. We walk up the path to breakfast, wet hay smell from barely visible moist fields, tree wraiths at the edges, only real colour is us, and dark blue cornflowers. Find breakfast a café big and silent, a man reads the Dépêche, when he leaves, I take it, and find the story of a farmer who shot some campers on his land then went on the run in the woods, and returned to his farm to kill himself. I was relieved to find the article, because yesterday a lady told us the story, but we couldn’t fully understand and it sounded ominous. At least he’s dead now, no danger to wild campers. We walk round Alban, down a steep narrow grassy lane, where we transfer money from wallet to money belt. Somehow I dropped my wallet on the pavement, and discovered the loss in the bank, and when we were walking back up the road a woman we had not seen before came from her shop to give it back to me. Lunch at the café, having been to the church, and seen a beautiful abstract glass end wall, reminding me of a verdant gorge and high skies and hills. I read magazines there; what the French think of the English, – cold, unintelligent, patriotic, etc. Returned to the tent through the cloud cover, thinking its no day to cycle, but wishing to see the lovely valley view. We got out all the maps and looked where we have been. We have done 1,200km to date.

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