La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653

La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653
La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653


PLEASE READ: Our Camino For Alzheimer's Awareness will begin on World Azheimer's Day, September 21, 2018 in Lodève, France about 130 kms west of Arles (underlined on the map above and circled on the route profile at the bottom of the page). We plan to walk together just over 800 kms to Puente la Reina, Spain where Annemarie will determine her next steps. It is, however, Geoff's intention to continue onwards a further 700 kms towards Santiago de Compostela. To put this into perspective, the total distance is about the same as from Victoria to Santa Barbara, California. As usual, we will accept the journey as it unfolds and we are appreciative of any and all support. If you feel moved to contribute to the Alzheimer Society please click on either of the really obvious RED BUTTONS to the right or at the bottom of this page and you will be transferred to the Society's fund raising site. We are paying our own expenses and all money raised will go directly to the Alzheimer Society.

If you wish to receive email notifications when we blog, just enter your email address where indicated on the right side of this page.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Étape 10: Besombes - Port Lauragais, 22 kms, Cloud, Sun, 24

A Spontaneous Change of Plan

Our day started with breakfast at a pastry shop and my tea was served quite nicely!

Soon after we were in the car headed for our drop off point, but as the sun was coming up I asked Bob to stop for me.

Before we knew it the three of us were in the trail and moving westward again.

We kind of puttered along today, stopping frequently to look at the views,

the fauna,

and the ever changing light.

Carpe Diem

As we were walking along the stream this morning, Geoff proposed a change in plan for our day. The original plan was for Bob to pick Kathy up after 9 kilometres, and Geoff and I would carry on, while Bob and Kathy took a day trip to Carcassonne. Recognizing that we have very little time left with Kathy and Bob on this trip, and that Carcassonne is a special place, we decided to abandon the rest of our walk for the day, and instead take the time with Kathy and Bob. We recognized this as another parallel for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. We notice how Kathy increasingly lives in the present; neither past nor future hold as much meaning for her. So we chose to live in the present today, too. For caregivers there is regular recognition that it is important to make the most of the “good days”, and we chose to make the most of this day. We had a great afternoon and got a number of pictures which will serve to remind us all of this day, and the choices we make along the way


There were four male singers inside the church and their unaccompanied voices were simply so very beautiful as the music rose to the ceiling. The cathedral, full of tourists went completely silent as they performed and it was one of those special moments that sometimes just happens in the right moment when on Camino. 

We’d brought the kids here in 2000 during a 6 week road trip and all three of them were seated together in front of this building. Um, they’re a bit older now:) I wonder if they remember?

Before having lunch we walked the walls of this ancient city that has had inhabitants present for over 2,500 years. I took some really nice photos from up there, but the wifi here is so terrible that uploading anything is taking forever. So I’ll leave you with two last photos and will post some others at the start of the post tomorrow.

I would also like to thank everyone for their blog comments and the many emails and messages we’ve steadily received. Some very supportive thoughts. We are trying to answer each of them, but if we miss you, our apologies. By the time we complete our day, write blogs, post to social media and find some food it’s often time to crawl into bed.

Oh, and one last thing, tonight we are sleeping at a truck stop which we’ve managed to do on most of our caminos. So now it truly is a Camino!!!

Today Kathy and I talked about the kinds of supports she finds helpful now and into the near future. There are a number of daily activities she can no longer do. This includes cooking, reading beyond short pieces, quilting and knitting, which used to make up large parts of her day. She would like more social activity than she currently has; she watches more t.v. than she would like. It’s difficult for her to initiate activities so the t.v. is more of a default and she would like some help to find other ways to spend her time. She walks her dog each day, and has some friends and family who are particularly helpful and others she would like to see more of. We brainstormed a number of things she could do rather than watch t.v., such as listening to audio books, looking at books with patterns and pictures that stimulate ideas, having someone help with crafts for Christmas, and exercise videos on YouTube. She sees a time in the near future when she (and Bob) would benefit from in home services, which would also give her added companionship. Aside from more visits with family and friends, these are all things the Alzheimer’s Society in her area can assist us in setting up. 

We found some maybe better wifi so....

On the way out of town we drove down to the river to see the Roman bridge and also we were hopeful to have a view back up to the old city. It seemed to work out.

There is a GR route that runs through Carcassonne and leads southward to the Pyrenees and eventually joins with the Frances as we will. I’ve looked at the route on maps and it does look interesting as it spends more time in the mountains. On the foot of the bridge we found our first indication of this route.

There is a small church at the base of the bridge called Our Lady of Good Health where these route markers were located. Inside it was quiet and I was alone when I took these photos.


  1. still having trouble viewing your excellent pictures on my (old) iPad...oh well. The blog does flow much better when you can view both photos and commentary at the same time! Haven't quite got my usual routine down for my daily coffee break for some reason.
    The weather has turned from summer to fall (read wet) very quickly this past week...beautiful sunny and warm until Friday, and now typical west coast fall rain and grey skies.
    enjoy your remaining time with Kathy & Bob. Bon Chemin!

    1. Thanks David. Try reading it with a good glass of might flow better!

  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful day, and responded to the spirit of the moment. What blessings come with that freedom! The photos of Carcassone are stunning - those round towers are so elegant. I (Sarah) was in Carcassone with my parents in 1991 (even longer ago than your trip!) - it was high summer and very crowded at that time, but I'd not long finished my Honours thesis on the Cathar heresy and Carcassone (and Albi) were strongholds of the Cathars (and their persecutors!!), so I wanted to see it. David commented that fall has arrived in BC - we're enjoying some beautiful spring weather here in the ACT and plan to go to the river today for a walk (where we met the echidna and black snake with you!). May the road continue to reveal to you how to inhabit these precious days. Bon chemin, Neil and Sarah

    1. Nice to hear from you Sarah. Carcassone was very special, even with all the people wandering around. Interesting to hear your own reflections. . Spring has arrived? I may need to take a long detour your way on my way home! Say for 3 months:))))