I prepare two large piles of French toast, with some bread I found in my backpack and fresh eggs and goat milk from the chalet. We really did not expect that we would be able to eat anything as delicious as this on this journey. In spite of the particularly hearty breakfast, our pants still fit. We notice we have lost an incredible amount of weight during this hike.
After having eaten a whole loaf of bread, we expect we don’t need any lunch today. But two hours later, after a descent and steep ascent, we sit on top of a col while eating a muesli bar and some chocolate. We have a nice view of the chalet where we spent the night yesterday. Another two hours later we do have lunch. We indulge ourselves in bread, sausages, cheese and canned tuna. And some cake as dessert of course… We can eat all day long. It seems that you burn quite some calories on a trip like this.
After lunch it is only uphill for about three hours at a time. It is quite tough and I immediately realize how those calories get burned. We catch up with a woman who is on her own carrying a small backpack. A little later we arrive at the Plateau de Beille. A bar-restaurant welcomes the dozens of day trippers who come here to explore the region, especially on weekends. There is a very large terrace that, just like inside, does not look cozy. It is a ski resort, which – especially in winter – is the place to be. Now, in summer, such a catering business really does not fit in the picture. We do not let it spoil our appetite and order two glasses of Belgium in the form of a blonde and dark Leffe.
The view of our somewhat cheerless terrace is phenomenal. We are enjoying the sun, which has been around for a few days now.
We walk just past the bar to “Le Village Nordique” where we want to pitch our tent. But once we get there we change our minds. The village consists of a few primitive houses such as log cabins, yourts and teepees. We trade a night in our tent for a night in a teepee.
Besides Laurent, we are the only inhabitants of the nomad village. Laurent is a guy from Paris who will be hiking a part of the GR10 for four days. Yesterday was his first hiking day and we already met him when he passed “our” chalet in the mountains. He eventually slept in the urine booth. Because we felt somewhat guilty that we had the luxury chalet all to ourselves yesterday, and especially because we had taken all the cans of beer from the urine booth, we are offering him a glass of rosé today. It gives us the feeling that we have more or less made up for it …
Laurent comes and sits with us while we enjoy our simple supper in the sun. The manager of the tent village, Isabelle, also accompanies us. We exchange stories of adventures and we spend a great time together. At some point Isabelle is going to get her boyfriend because she has a surprise for us. After a while we hear music in the distance … I’m going to have a look and see Isabelle and her friend come our way, while they play the accordion. How nice … !!
We make fire and open up a second bottle of wine. The whole evening is filled with beautiful music, incredible stories and laughter. What a fantastic day we have spent again! When everyone goes to bed, the two of us stay by the campfire. We cuddle up to each other and realize how happy we are. With this journey. With these adventures. With each other.
The sun sets. We are going to have a look at the glorious interplay between light and colour. I hop over the hills and laugh out loud. With an unmistakable feeling of being happy, we crawl into our teepee. It is cold and the mattresses are paper thin. But I am convinced that we will sleep better here than in the most expensive hotel in the world.