Aubrac, the village where we stayed last night, has a population of only fifty people. Even though it is tiny, it has an interesting history that began in the 12th century. The Flemish Viscount Adelardo described this place as “horrible, very lonely, terrible, wild, dark and uninhabitable.” He suffered an attack by bandits and then promised to build a hospital if he survived, so that pilgrims would not have to suffer his fate. Pilgrims were offered security against the dangers that lurked, and also light, food and wine, and a bell which was rung to guide them on days of snow or fog. The bell still exists but most of the hospital buildings have disappeared. The tower was restored as a pilgrim hostel.
Dave and I were waiting in Aubrac for the Compostel’ bus to arrive and were beginning to worry it wouldn’t show up at all. Walking the entire 23 kilometres to Saint-Côme-d’Olt was unthinkable after yesterday’s long, hot climb. It was a huge relief when the bus finally showed up half an hour late. It was the best 24 euros spent to shorten today’s distance to an acceptable 16 kilometres.
We were let off at the pretty fairytale village of Saint-Chély-d’Aubrac, nestled snug into the mountainside. We grabbed a cafe au lait and ice cream at the cafe, stocked up on snacks at the epicerie, then headed off to Saint-Côme-d’Olt, a descent of a total of 950 metres. Dense forests and tree lined paths provided welcome shade, there was a light breeze, and birdsong. Except for some long stretches of stony paths, the trails were quite good.
It doesn’t seem to matter how many kilometres we walk in a day, the last five kilometres are always tough. Even if we don’t say it, we are thinking, “Are we there yet?” 🤪 When we finally arrived at Hôtellerie du Couvent de Malet (Malet Convent) we received the warmest welcome yet. The hospitaleras are so kind and the facility and gardens are beautiful. We highly recommend it! ♥️ 👍