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.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Étape 4: Murat - La-Salverat sur Agout: 25 km, cooler, sun/cloud, wind 15-20

A Fresh Canvas

Last night we enjoyed the company of two other walkers, both who will complete their walk tomorrow. We find ourselves pretty much alone on this route with just Jean-Philip from Belgium somewhere near by. However, our host Jean-Luc hosted us to a beautiful dinner with wine and some lively discussion until we reluctantly headed off to find our beds.
This morning we were up and underway in the early morning light and watching for puddles as it had rained heavily in the night for a short time. It was  distinctly cooler and I wished I’d put on my sleeves to keep a bit warmer. Eventually the sun popped up and with it a very slow rise in the temperature began.

Each route we’ve walked has tended to have a distinctive signage or a mtrail indicator, and the Arles is no different. Small metal crosses with a scallop shell in the centre. Quite unique in my experience. 

One of the true pleasures of walking is that one starts each day with a fresh experience lying just ahead, a fresh canvas if you like. For the first time in two days we got back onto the trails and small country lanes that we love and have come to expect in France. As we walked through the forest we both felt the difference and we dawdled along for the first half of the walk.

A fresh green canvas
Moss covered rocks run beside
A small church beckons 

We hiked through some beautiful country today. Rolling hills on the plateau we climbed to yesterday with small lakes well drawn down by the past 4 months of very hot weather.

We also made new friends along the way who politely held still for portraits on the promise of a hand full of green grass.

But today it was really all about the beautiful trails we wandered along. Some samples...

Fall lurks in the trees
Those who know me understand
It’s the sun I seek

As we began the descent into La-Salverat the trees opened up onto some nice pasture land.

And we created a bit of a stir as we walked through a nice heard of cattle! 

And then we were into town, a medieval city with a fortified upper village.

And as no one would provide two tired pelerin with lunch because we arrived at 13:05, we sat on a bench and ate sausage and crackers before continuing on. I wonder if the nice guy who basically told us to get lost knows it was us that cancelled our reservation yesterday? Bet he would have been more friendly if we were staying there tonight. I’d read he has a bad reputation and so I’m pleased that we aren’t there tonight. Instead we walked out of town...

Across the bridge....

and directly to his competitor where, after I had a nice nap, we are sitting here enjoying a very delicious local craft beer writing our blogs and notes. David, this one is for you!

About Alzheimer’s 

Last night we enjoyed an evening conversation with Dominic, during which he expressed a particular empathy for the caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s. We came across him on the trail this morning, and had another lovely conversation (he admired my poles). As we were about to carry on, he said he wanted to share something with us about Alzheimer’s. He told the following story, which he agreed to us sharing on our blog. 

His sister’s spouse died of the disease at age 79, a year and a half ago. For his sister and brother-in-law, what could have been a very difficult and stressful time became a time of beauty and love in their relationship. As an example, his brother-in-law asked to go home, to which his sister replied “you are home”, and he then insisted “no, I want to go home”. She understood what he was asking, and brought him to his childhood home, and he could see that it was no longer the home that he had known. On the drive back to their home, he told his wife he loved her...his way of saying thank you for understanding. Dominic said that his sister’s ability to understand and respond to her husband’s needs reduced his stress, and kept him calm, making their last days together extra special and beautiful for him to see. 

The Alzheimer’s society teaches that it’s not what you say to the person, but how you make them feel that’s important, and Dominic’s  story is a beautiful illustration of this principal. 


  1. It looks like a superb day on the trail today - we really like the distinctive way markers and, of course, the inquisitive animals. Horses in France seem to avoid the barber! Thanks to Dominic for the touching story about his sister and her spouse. Good to see you getting into the rhythm of the haiku gt. bc, nm 'n' sb

  2. Sorry that Ken could not get his comments through to you in the "Post Comment" section - much like the trouble I had earlier - but I will try again and hope for better success!! To continue, Mom and I were delighted that you have finally arrived at that point on your walk where the beautiful country lanes and trails are showing up and encouraging you long the way.. . so much nicer than the hard top roadways and speeding traffic of the first few days. Also nice to observe Geoff that the cows and horses you encountered today were more welcoming and friendly than some of the sheep and other four legged animals you have tried to pat in previous years - particularly the nasty sheep!! who were quite nasty to say the least. Kathy and Bob phoned us last evening from Vancouver airport as they sat in their seats on their Westjet flight waiting to depart for London - 15 minutes to go at 7:00 pm. All seemed to be well and organized - Kathy very excited.

    Spoke to Bryan yesterday and hoping to have him over for dinner later in the week. He said his cold is improving.

    Cheers for now. God Bless. Mom and Dad

    1. Have spoken to a Bob andKathy. All good with them and we will meet for lunch at the end of our stage tomorrow.

  3. cheers!
    blog is not loading properly on my iPad, so reading as time permits at the office.
    looks like excellent adventure so far!

    1. That’s odd, but can happen. Some of the photos might slow it down on the loading. Let me know if there is a change.

  4. That was a powerful story about Alzheimer’s at the end. Thanks for sharing it.

    Such a beautiful day—the paths, the calm horse. What a place to be walking.

    I had a shitty day yesterday, but turned it around late in the afternoon—I put together a presentation that’s due a week from now. Now I can let it mellow for a few days before maybe making some changes. Today—on to something else.

    You’re on to something else, too: another day of walking. That feeling of being somewhere new constantly is a wonderful feeling. Yes, a canvas, absolutely that’s an appropriate metaphor.

    Now it’s breakfast. Have a great walk today!


  5. Dominic's story is so precious. The Alzheimer's teaching about "its not what we say but how we make the person feel" is a gentle reminder to us all. Am so enjoying your blogs, photos, poems & words of wisdom. Happy travels. Jo-Ann