Sil: We were up at 6am this morning. We had a wonderful breakfast of Yoghurt, baby bell cheese, rolls, bread, honey coffee, tea, and chocolate. Gave Mrs Jaccard one of our SA flag magnets and a beaded glasses string. Left at 7h45 and walked through the town, 3.2 km to the river Rhone and have been walking alongside the river all morning. We are now in St Maurice - using a coin Internet machine with a terrible keyboard. It is hot and cloudy. Bought a couple of post cards and had a drink at a touristy café opposite the Chateau of St Maurice We saw our first VF sign just outside St Maurice. On the way a young black cyclist, seeing our flags, called out, “Goeie More!” He was from Johannesburg, living at the local cycling academy. We followed the cycle path alongside the river for a long way to St Manley with dozens of cyclists riding to and fro. Not a very friendly bunch and few bother to greet us when we say hello. Just at this point, at a T junction in the cycle path we couldn’t decide whether to go left or right. A cyclist stopped to say hello. “Are you from SA?” he asked (it was the flags again). He had worked in a Hotel in Johannesburg 20 years ago. He told us to go right, which was quite a relief otherwise we would have ended up on the main road.
At lunch time we chose one of about 10 cafe/bars - with typically European seating in the street. After derobing backpacks, sticks, hats etc etc (quite a mission) we discovered that we had chosen the only cafe that doesn’t serve food! - we were not moving though, and luckily saw a small Patissiere next door, so bought ... bread again.
Kathy: Went to the Abbey to get a special VF stamp but it was closed so we left and then entered the Bois Noir forest along the Rhone. This was a really tough path, a bit like a combination of Kranskloof, Yellowwood Park, Shongweni and the Berg. We have still got another 15km to go and will sleep in the TCS campsite dorm tonight. We are all strong, still overwhelmed by the scenery. Getting deeper and deeper into the mountains. Marion was our group leader today. After a very long day we arrived at the TCS Camp site, which is, of course, on the outskirts of town. Bunk beds, funny showers where you have to keep pushing a button to get the water to work and no temp control - so one water temp for all. Even the basin has hot water - very odd to brush teeth with warm water. Clothes washed and hanging from our wash lines across the bunks. Had delicious pasta for supper in the camp restaurant. Sun still shining at 8.30pm with no sign of going down. Hope we sleep well. Val is group leader tomorrow