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
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
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!
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.