I found myself outside of the old village of Le Puy en Velay. The walk into town is steep up hill and much to my surprise there was a renaissance festival going on. People in nice clothing of that time and the old village divided into sections according to the groups of craftsmen. There was music performed in the street, troubadours and also two women that pretended to be beggars. They did a superb job on it and people were quite upset at times with their act.
Due to this festival the local places to sleep all had a little notice on the door informing me that they were either closed or fully booked. This was totally unexpected and for the first day, my creativity was at an all time low.
I was hungry, in urgent need of an espresso and time to think of a solution. Then a fully dressed renaissance man did not look where he was walking and nearly kicked me over. He apologized and invited me over to his quarter of the city, next to the entrance of the cathedral. Of course he knew I was a pilgrim, carrying a backpack and a walking stick does the trick. His name was Jacques. Of course it was. I was on the road to Santiago to travel to the tomb of St Jacques in Santiago. Of course I meet a Jaques in Le Puy en Velay.
He offered some bread and a glass of herbal brew. Very alcoholic and after one glass on en empty stomach I was definitely influenced. Which did not help to find a bed of course. I walked away still with backpack and all and began looking at the shells next to doors. Maybe some of these shells would lead towards beds, as in a bed for me.
I did, however, have to walk another 2 hours. All I could think of was look at the shells, knock on doors and ask for a bed. Being influenced by the herbal boost I got more and more happy and was not upset any more. You see, with the folklore in town that day, all the tourists and many many places full for the night, it was superficial. Then suddenly I saw a sign of the friends of St Jaques (Les Amies de St Jaques de Velay). Two German girls were standing next to the door. The door would open in another hour of so. Only 3 people for 28 beds. I could sit down and relax.</blockquote.
Le Puy en Velay-Aubrac, step 1
October 2, 2008 by radiantwoman