I must be in Seyne. Or at least I was for a short time today. Seyne looked to be a pleasant town from high up as I approached it a little after 3.00pm, but finding the only hotel closed altered my perspective somewhat. For about 10km before Seyne I’d walked in on and off light rain. Never before have I seen such big, dark cloud formations that never amount to much. If appearances were anything to go by, with all the thunder and lightning, you’d think they’d deliver a torrent of water, but they never seem to do that, which was fortunate for me. When I found the hotel closed I enquired at a local cafe and was told it opened at 5.00pm. Heartened by this news I parked myself outside the cafe with my dripping gear, ordered a drink and waited.

It is often just an expectation that keeps us bouyed, but a soon to visit reality can change that. Come five o’clock I headed to the hotel to find it still closed. There was a telephone number handwritten on paper and stuck to the window. I called the number only to find out the hotel would remain closed. Earlier when I first discovered the hotel closed a man on the street told me there was one about 3km down the road. The only problem was that ‘down the road’ took me on a different road back in the direction from which I’d come, but I went that way anyway. The three k’s turned into four but I eventually found a place for the night. By this time it
was well after six o’clock.

I just don’t get it. In Le Louzet where I stayed the previous night there were three hotels in a village of about half a dozen buildings and a dog. Seyne looked like Gotham City by comparison.

Most of the day was spent climbing. I didn’t expect this because I was leaving the valley. When I changed roads around eleven thirty I headed back into the snow country, not that there was any snow around, but places like Saint-Jean are ski
villages that look like they can’t wait for winter to return. Their appearance is quite forlorn with very few people around, quiet, closed shops, for sale signs on apartments, and bitumen instead of snow or sleet. The arrival of snow energises these villages waking them from their summer slumber.

This morning I met a couple of young men from Paris who had slept by the side of the road in a stone shelter. They were on their way to Barcelonnette with backpacks. One spoke English. He asked about my journey. When I told him, his first response was to ask me if I had been in the military. He thought it would be dangerous to be
traveling alone, but I assured him it was not. I must say that at no time have I felt under threat. There have been times when I’ve felt a little uncertain about my situation, but nothing that could deter me.

You would have thought I had a different right leg today compared with yesterday. Thanks for all that healing energy everyone sent me. During today I didn’t have the breaks from walking I normally do. Firstly, I didn’t feel like a food break, and after the rain started there was no where I could take shelter, so I kept going. This was a
mistake. My body knows what it likes and it most certainly knows what it doesn’t
like. It doesn’t like to be pushed for six hours with just twenty minutes off like was today’s effort. I must respect what it is telling me, irrespective of the conditions.

Tomorrow I will have to retrace the last 4km I did this evening to get back onto the road that will take me further south. I must be getting soft: walking an extra 4km to search out a hotel instead of raising the tent in the rain on wet, soaked ground. But I’ll continue to indulge myself this way.
The only americans in the middle, green day might have argued, were those who were too writing a college paper fixed on their own petty and materialistic affairs to care one way or the other