Day 2: La Libaudié to Albugue

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

To avoid confusion let me mention here that the ‘place names’ in the titles of the posts ‘Walking in the Vallée du Tarn’ are the names of the actual houses I stayed at. When you book walking holiday with ‘Franse Valleientocht’ you are not on a trek, instead they have walks mapped out for you in the same region, whereby each night you stay at one of the participating houses. There’s a lot of flexibility on how much walking you want to do.

I woke up this morning to a sky that looked rather promising compared to the previous day’s weather, and lo and behold it stayed dry! Temperatures where still rather on the cool side but perfect for walking.

This being the South of France the pace is slightly different to what I’m used to on other walks (self imposed or out of necessity), so where I’m usually on the track by 8am, this morning we had a leisurely breakfast at 9am. Lunch packets where prepared by Kees and I started walking at 9:50am. I looked at 14kms, with two options for shortcuts, of which I took none.

The first few kilometers the walk roughly followed Le Tarn and this was quite possibly the prettiest part of the day’s walk, mostly on wooded paths through deciduous forest – very pleasant indeed – followed by a steady climb to the very sleepy hamlet of Aspires. The second part of the day saw a lot of walking on asphalt but since there are hardly any cars on these country roads, it wasn’t too bad. Towards the end the path followed (and crossed a few times) a creek before heading through more forest to Albugue, my stop for the day.

On this walk I came across quite a lot of low stone walls. This used to be wine country, the walls formed the terraces. Around 1950 the wine business here was no longer profitable and a grape disease meant the end of the viticulture in the area. Mother nature was given free reign over the former vineyards as the slopes were to steep for other forms of agriculture.

Lovely start to the day through deciduous forest.
Faces of nature.
Barrage de la Croux Dam on Le Tarn. EDF (French electricity provider) has dams every 20 km on the river Tarn to generate electricity. However the main reason is to create water basins to cool the nuclear reactor near Bordeaux.
Fairy Forest.
As sleepy as they come, the tiny hamlet of Aspires.
Cathar Cross. They are everywhere.
Low wall that once formed a vineyard terrace.
Bit random? Maybe?
Arrived at Albugue.