This day was how I
dreamed the trip would be - except for the
start in the taxi! We covered a lot of
ground, we didn't get lost, the countryside
was beautiful, the weather was mostly good
and we didn't argue very much. And the hotel
in Saulzet was a very welcome bonus. I hope
it is still going. I can't find it on the
internet - but then it is not likely that
they are on the web!
After a night
of tossing and turning, on my part, we decided
to continue as A seemed fully recovered and
very perky. Had breakfast and got the hotel to
phone the taxi company to take us to Laschamp.
(Both of the drivers from the taxi company
performed flawlessly and can be recommended.
The company is Taxi J.-C. Montmory of Villars
63870 Orcines, telephone 06 09 44 17 17). The
hotel cost us 527F and the taxi 100F. We
started walking at 9:15.
I don't know
whether Alasdair is typical of all kids but he
can seem to compartmentalise his tiredness.
When I'm tired I collapse and doze or sleep.
He lies on his bed, resting his muscles, and
reads a book, exercising his mind.
There was a fascinating flight of stairs in
the hotel. It seemed to be carved out of a
single piece of andesite.
Today has had
it all - showers, cloudless skies, torrential
cloudbursts, nosebleeds and a warm welcome.
We got to Laschamp and started walking at
9:15. We had been on the edge of a
thunderstorm and there was an occasional light
shower but as the morning wore on the clouds
disappeared and we had to put on our suntan
cream. The way was long but relatively flat.
We diverged from Alan Castles route and went
round rather than over the Puys Lassolas and
de la Vache. While we were having a well
earned rest below the Puy de la Vache, an
exhuberant cross country cyclist went past us
at high speed and showing off like mad. The
excitement must have caused a rush of blood to
A’s head because shortly afterwards he had a
large nosebleed. Eventually I had to get the
cotton wool from the first-aid and stuff that
up his nose. This, at last, effected a cure.
At about 2:30, just above La Garandie, we
stopped and watched a thunderstorm over the
Massif de Sancy. As we set off we realised it
was coming towards us, so we diverged from the
GR and went through the village. This was
fortunate as we were able to shelter in a
farmers machinery shed as thunder, lightning,
hail and rain dinged down around us. The smell
was pretty awful but we were glad to be dry.
It eventually stopped and we set off again
at 3:30. The pause had not helped A’s morale
and he was on a downer as we walked towards
Saulzet le Froid. This was not helped by being
passed by a group of a dozen or so German
walkers as we approached the village. A was
convinced that they were going to take all the
accommodation in the village. But in the
village we found a hotel, walked in past the
Germans who were ordering beers and coffee,
got a nice room - all smiles.
countryside was lovely. We were walking
through woods, along well made paths, in the
sunshine. The route was by no means flat but
there were no big climbs to remind us of the
efforts of yesterday.
There were quite a few other walkers (and
cyclists), probably because it was a Sunday,
the weather was nice and we were not very far
from Clermont-Ferrand. But it certainly wasn't
The hotel at Saulzet le
Froid was a very welcome place. After writing
yesterdays notes I had a snooze. We got up at
7 intending to phone home but were told the
storm had cut the lines. So we toured the
village and returned to the Hotel for supper.
Very good especially the soup. A meal designed
for walkers. Another tour of the village and
bed at 9. Asleep at 10. Awake 7:30 - we had
recovered our resources.
of making the holiday a centre - based one
rather than a walking one. When we get to Le
Mont Dore, stay there till Thursday, get a bus
or train to Lioran, and stay there till Monday
or Tuesday. We would walk each day with a
light pack. We will see how we like Le Mont
change our plans as Alasdair wouldn't even
consider them. He had determined to do the
walk and climb the big peaks; and so we did
the walk and climbed the big peaks.