Tuesday 26 June
St. Gilles, Camargue. Rest Day 74 km Total 1532km. Flat country. Mistral wind, no clouds.
I wake at 5.15 to watch the sky change colour over this vast flat plain. Out the back of the tent is where there is most light and a thin sickle moon left over as it were, in all the bright dark blue and purple fading at the edge to red or yellow. We left early, crunching across the stony, viney campsite and followed the narrow white road opposite leading enticingly to the sea, the road of the whiskered terns that we’d been told about.
First we called at the boulangerie; too early for any cafes to be open. So ate outside a closed café du Centre in Galician town. The sun is brilliant and the mistral whisking all mist away to leave everything clear and defined. On to the vicar’s campsite at Montcalm- surrounded as predicted by cypress trees. We continue south, the mistral at our back, seeing predators, and a warbler with a strident song.
At the sea, blue and big, there are many people, a milling of hippies and tourists, gift shops, and hamburgers. After a pistachio ice cream we soon realise that the strength and heat of the mistral had been seriously underestimated. Arriving at St Gilles, we call for anis and pastis, the first unfortunately a cordial, the second the real thing. A street banner shows us to the campsite, which is quite expensive, and we enjoy a shady supper, becoming drunk, after which we decide we need more biscuits which have to be tracked down in town by wandering a maze of narrow alleys hearing the sounds of everyone in their small houses; music, talking, crying, arguing, dogs, cats, cars.