Day 16: Espagnac to Marcilhac-sur-Cele

Day 16: Espagnac to Marcilhac-sur-Cele

The Camino provided! Our plans to walk the rest of the Cele Valley variant were questionable last night. The only form of payment generally accepted in these small villages is cash and we were running out. The closest bank machine is in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and we wouldn’t get there for two days. We expressed our concerns to our lovely hosts, Fabienne et Patrick, at Celezen last night. This morning Patrick kindly offered to drive us to the nearest bank machine ten kilometres away. We were happy to say our problem seems to have been solved. We had sent an email to Gite de Galance in Marcelhac asking if they accept credit card payment and finally got a response. All our plans hinged upon their answer and their answer was a resounding “YES!” 🙏 😊 

Today’s scenery in the Cele Valley was stunning and to think we might have missed it if we had to change our plans. It was one of the most peaceful and picturesque hikes we have ever done. The Cele River for most of the year is no more than a meandering stream but in spring it can turn into a torrent. The word “celer” evolved from the Latin word that means “to accelerate.” It runs at the foot of abrupt cliffs and traverses picturesque villages, some of which were built straight into the cliff face. We’ve never seen anything like it.

We climbed three steep hills today. The first two were not a problem because they took us up to those huge cliffs above the valley, but we would rather have avoided the third climb. It was the Marcilhac-sur-Cele circuit route that added four kilometres onto an otherwise perfect day. I must been hallucinating when we were approaching the top of that third steep climb. In my peripheral vision, I envisioned a parking lot with a fleet of white vehicles and did a double-take. They turned out to be piles of white rocks. Maybe in my subconscious I was hoping to hitch a ride? Then Dave said, “Doesn’t this section of trail looks familiar? Didn’t we come down this trail earlier? Are we going around in circles?” 🙈 We felt like old race horses in the home stretch, foaming at the mouth by the time we reached Marcilhac-sur-Cele and our home for the night: Gite de Galance. 

With Google Maps being our guide, we might not always follow the red and white Camino markers but may choose country roads instead – the shorter ones. Our plan from now on is to be flexible with the route we take. 😊  

Patrick and Fabienne

10 thoughts on “Day 16: Espagnac to Marcilhac-sur-Cele

  1. Amazing photos, like most days but even more so today. Like you, I have never seen anything like this. I can’t imagine sleeping well knowing all that rock was above my head.

    It makes for a fantastic day of walking and photography.
    Glad to be participating vicariously.

    1. It’s quite amazing to see houses snug against cliffs and road signs warning about falling rocks in the same area! It’s hard to know how they sleep well at night. 😮

  2. Another wonderful set of pictures and I can see why you thought this section quite beautiful. I’m not sure how you two continue to forge onwards in spite of difficulties along the way. Way to go you two!

    1. Thank you, Marnie! When we think back to one or two weeks ago or even a day, what we were seeing was entirely different from what we’re seeing now. Tomorrow we are going to caves with prehistoric paintings and it’s right on the Camino! 😮

  3. Your pictures surely confirm your descriptions of steep cliffs and terrain. The pics are just awesome, Judy. May you and Dave continue to enjoy The Way.

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