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Album: photos:20021006

Toulouse, France - illicit campsite a several kilometers past Pibrac
06 October 2002

This is an unsettling start to my trip. The lesser problem is that I started getting sick the day before I started walking. How is it that always seems to happen? It happened before I left for the AT and the day before I started the Inca Trail. It is just congestion and a runny nose this time. The bigger problem is that my bank card just expired. My backup VISA still works for charging but it won't give me a cash advance - at least in won't in France. It did in Spain. Tommorrow when I check out, I am hoping to get cash back. Otherwise, I leave in the morning with 9 euros in my pocket. If I can charge everything I am okay but in rural France I don't want to count on mom and pop's sandwich shop accepting VISA.

Throughout the day I marvelled how I went from being a 21st century tourist to a sick, poor, 12th century pilgrim overnight. This was exacerbated by the fact that the two hotels in Pibrac were closed for some reason so I hiked through and slept in the woods. I feel at home in the woods, but I am not equipped to camp. It was uncomfortablebut at least it did not rain.

So finally, how was the walk? The walk went great. It was a little annoying to try and navigate the suburbs with what amounts to a state map, but I made it into the countryside without too much hassle. It would have been nice if my walkers guide had included directions but they recommended taking the bus to the outskirts. I was not going to resort to a bus on my first real day though.

Once in the countryside, I made it to Pibrac in just a couple hours. It is a small village and a nice introduction to rural France. To view, there is a church of course and a basilica. Strangely St. Germain's remains seemed to be housed in the church rather than the latter. My understanding is what makes a basilica is the tomb of a saint - unless you are Spain's Franco who built a basilica over his grave. Anyone know for sure?

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