Friday 27th of May Lodeve to La Vacquerie et Saint-Martin-de-Castries

More fun and games trying to find our way out of Lodeve this morning and it turns out that the GR7 goes on a fairly circuitous route heading south before it loops back up round to where it should be going. This southern diversion was enough to confuse me and it wasn't until we had the entire staff of the tourist information office working on the problem that I accepted that the circuitous route was indeed the right one. Fortunately today was quite a short one so the time wasted didn't really matter.

After the heat of yesterday today was much cooler, cloudy to start with and then clear and windy, good walking weather.

Picked up a baguette for lunch which Christine insisted on sticking out the back of my rucksack, actually very useful for picking up wifi.

Marching out of Lodeve

Initially we shared the route with the Pilgrim's Way and the GR 71 and it wasn't until we got to the pretty village of Fozieres that we got onto the GR7 proper. It was then a fairly long monotonous walk up through pine trees with the monotony only broken by the occasional cherry orchard with an opportunity for cherry gorging.

Just past the Col du Melanque

After about 20 kilometres and 900 metres of climb we started to escape the trees and emerge into the causse countryside proper. I like it and after 6 days of walking through trees it's a really nice change.

Approaching La Vacquerie et Saint-Martin-de-Castries

La Vacquerie et Saint-Martin-de-Castries was a bit of a surprise, a lot more facilities than we were expecting. We are staying in a Chambre d'Hote, which doesn't evening meals but there is a smart looking restaurant in the village and we're going there tonight.

Something worrying is that I'm suddenly getting attacked by ticks, four in the last three days which compares with one in the last 55 years. I think I managed to remove all the bits but I don't really know how dangerous they are. Anyway from tomorrow I will be wearing long trousers as a safe rather than sorry precaution. If anyone has any advice on ticks please let me know.


  1. John ticks as long as the ones i know in Spain, is not a problem as long as you quick out the one as fast as possible for not geting inside and not sucking so much blood. With alcohol to get the hole sanitated.

  2. However, John, as you are approaching Austria, ticks become more and more of a danger to you.
    Basically, European ticks may carry parasites that cause Lyme's disease (Borreliosis) and Tick-borne Encepahlitis. Both diseases are very serious and I advise you to study the pages in Wikipedia carefully.
    Lyme's disease can be treated very well with antibiotics, provided you do not wait more than a year. Serious signs of a Lyme infection, however, do not occur within one or two years. Once your central nerve system is affected, treatment is very difficult.
    Tick-borne Encephalitis on the other hand, cannot be treated once you are infected. It is prevented by a series of three (3) injections. You may go to any general practitioner to get these injections. Once you are infected, there is a chance of 10-20% to develop neurological disorders (leading to death in 1-2% of the cases). I suggest that you get the first of these injections as soon as you can.
    The chance that a tick is infected with one of these parasites varies a lot over Europe. Western European countries like The Netherlands have spots where almost every tick is a carrier of Lyme, whereas 50 KM further on, the parasite is hardly found. TBE is rather coming from the former Communist countries, where the parasites are endemic, and now spreading into Austria (already endemic in a large part of the country) and Germany (with the former GDR of course leading, but Bavaria already affected in numerous places). In France, only a few isolated places are known to host the parasite already, but these may be the places where E4 passes. Make sure that you get your first injection tomorrow morning, and your second one before you enter Switzerland.
    I am extremely sorry that I did not tell you this last year during your preparations - it simply did not cross my mind that you might need it.
    Hope you got no infections until now, Menno

  3. Hi John, I'm afraid Menno is right walking down through Franconia and into Bavaria last summer and TBE is a serious problem had two shots before leaving home and will get third to top up before continuing my Camino. The good news is that the cover lasts for about 10 years.
    Love reading the blog.