It was a short day, but not without its challenges. We followed the road, for 5 km, seeing perhaps 3 cars in nearly 2 hours, as we walked through old forests, climbing out of tiny Servies to join the GR 563 and the Chemin at the Col de Layrac from which we could see a few small villages in the valleys below, and endless mountains.
We were grateful for the cool temperature, but the wind we’d experienced yesterday continued to buffet us. After awhile we left the road, and took a steep, rocky descent through forests, exiting gratefully at Mecles, where we sat in the sun at a small fountain with a St. Jacques plaque.
Only three km from their to St. Gervais, pleasant until another painfully steep, rocky descent, then across a medieval bridge over the pretty Mare river, up into the mostly deserted long Main Street ofSt. Gervais.
The Mairie rose majestically above a pair of staircases behind imposing red bars and gates. The doors opened, and a lovely young woman welcomed us, gave us a map, and a key to the gite, and collected our money.
The pizza place was closed, but we bought some cheese pastries at the bakery just before it closed, and celebrated with two beers outside a cafe, before heading back through town to a lovely, clean, modern gite with a nice kitchen and beautiful bathroom.
About 4 pm, we returned to the now open tourist office where a wonderfully kind and patient woman spent the better part of an hour lining up places for us over the coming weekend. Many places were either full or closed, so we greatly appreciated her help.
A bit of shopping at the small grocery, and back to the gite where we met our two companions for the night, a French man and Spanish woman.
Two businesses on the street seemed open all the time: a car repair business, unlikely in the old town center, and a funeral supply store, both for people heading elsewhere.
Tomorrow, we climb to some of the highest peaks on this part of the route, but we’ve cut the 26 km day into two.