I had just four hours sleep last night, so I thought I did well today to cover 28kms. I’m trying to get to Toulouse two days earlier than planned so I can meet up with my son Vincent who is in Europe for three months.

The sun peeked through the clouds around 7.00am but that’s all I saw of it for the next couple of hours. To the west, the direction I’m traveling, the sky was looking dark and ominous. By nine the clouds began to clear, the day warmed up, and it remained that way.

This morning was another of those journeys along quiet road and lanes, and walks
beside the vines. This afternoon was different but I took some chances and went off course and was rewarded with more quietness, undisturbed by cars or people. Although the day didn’t fly by it was quite an easy walk given that I was on the road for 9 hours, seven of which were spent walking.

When I look at the street layout of many of the villages I pass through most have one thing in common: the old central part has it’s buildings arranged in a circle. Sometimes there are two concentric circles of buildings. I assume this was a defensive measure to assist protecting it’s inhabitants from attack. A lot occupy a hill
position which would have assisted early warning of attack as well as an attack itself. One interesting observation is that where an old village has expanded, the newer houses often conform to this concentric circle pattern.

A French practice I have been observing is the greeting. Last night at the pizza van is a good example. At one point a young man walked up to a group of about 8-10 men and women. Everyone of them was greeted individually with kisses or handshakes. It is not appropriate to just say “Hi” to everyone present. I have not yet seen a woman greet with a handshake. Three kisses is common with the left
cheeks touching first. I’ve seen men kiss four times, but not women. I’ve seen no one kiss twice or just once. The practice of either kissing or shaking hands looks quite ritualistic and requires some effort to acknowledge a large group. A handshake with a man probably indicates someone who is less familiar than the person who gets kissed. I assume it would cause offence to to not be greeted at all, or to be greeted inappropriately.

I have to report that the leg problem about which I remonstrated yesterday, and which disappeared in the late afternoon, did not return today. Thanks to everyone
who sent me healing energy. I need it on a daily basis.

I’m in a hotel tonight after four days in the same set of clothes. I had to give me a break from myself. The dining room has a wonderful view towards the nearby hills. At 9.30pm there was still so much light left in the day.