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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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Ètape 6: Anglés - Noailhac, 24 kms sunny, very windy, 21

Blown Away!

When we went to bed last night after a very nice communal cook-up and wine, the air had quieted and there was a very pleasant sunset from our gîte window that indicated today would be very nice. 

I  checked the weather forecaste and a high wind warning was posted, but this is quite usual for the area, so of no real concern. We surfaced from our small room and after breakfast and farewells we hit the road. We were sorry to say goodbye to Jean Phillip, but exchanged contact information hoping to reconnect after Toulouse. One last look back at Anglés and we were off.

And going in the right direction too!

The wind was coming up strongly from behind us and the clouds were just flying past. We headed into the shelter of the trees and were spared for a while.

Stopping to make take our jackets off we were treated to the sunrise. Kind of nice through a gap in the forest I thought!
Knowing that we had to make tracks in order to be at the end of our walk in time to meet Kathy and Bob, we set a fairly high tempo today. This was a bit unfortunate as we caught up to a woman from France, said a quick bonjour and then caught up to Dominic who we had really enjoyed meeting and who Annemarie wrote about a couple of days ago. He clearly wanted to walk and talk about his experiences the past two days, but shortly afterwards we had to say our bon chemins and press onwards. All the while the wind velocity increased.

Gee we were glad to not be walking into the wind. Perhaps Paul’s parents in Ireland, Joe and Geraldine, were saying this Irish Blessing for us...May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun always be warm upon your face... Always one of my favourites and it was in my mind today as we walked.

We had heard that there was a woman from Quebec walking ahead of us and when we caught her there was a nice connection as we walked along together for several kilometres. Eventually we said goodbye and moved onwards. We figure that there are about 7 pelerins on the trail in our area, but after tomorrow there will just be 4 of us including Kathy with several departures scheduled from Castres. 

After several ups and downs, we seemed to crest a ridge and out before us was the ancient lake bed which we will walk across to Toulouse with Kathy. 

We took a while to descend the 550 m (1800’) to the bottom and it was pretty nice to have the freedom of a long downhill after all the climbing this past week. It really hasn’t been that bad, certainly not like the first couple of weeks out of Le Puy or the climbs in Japan, but it was a good test. At the top the wind peaked and we had three hat frisbee moments! Yup, first Annemarie had to scramble and then I did and then I had to again a few minutes later even with the straps of my super dangerous looking, almost Indiana Jones hat pulled fairly tight! I also at lost one of my Aussie feathers that I’d picked up when visiting with Neil and Sarah, but I was able to reclaim it from a bush. All the flowers from my heather sprig were blown off the small branch too! Even the chestnuts and tree branches were falling today. Much nicer chestnut shells than we have at home on the west coast, but a smaller nut inside.

Hey, we even saw a deer today! Ya, I know we have millions of them at home right in our small city, but this is only the second one I’ve seen in Europe on all my walks. We laughed after our initial excitement. It was after all, only a deer. I often see 3 or 4 on our front lawn:)

Some 40 minutes later than we thought we would arrive, we saw the town.

And on the way in a nice welcome.

Then we were in.

Lunch and a drive into Castres where we have rooms and now it must be time for a beer!

A special shout out to our mate Neil who enjoyed his PhD convocation in Canberra! Congrats!! 

Bon Chemin! 


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Geoff - we had a great day at the convocation and I got to wear a hat almost as famous as your Tilley!

    What a blessing that the wind was on your back - maybe you could title the post 'blown along' instead of 'blown away'! Glad you found that 'Aussie' feather again. We'd have been excited about that deer too, even though they are now a pest in Australia as well. It's great to see you have met up with Bob and Kathy. We hope Bob enjoys waiting in cafe's and that Kathy has a great time walking with you - a special opportunity. BC, Neil and Sarah

  2. The trails & scenery are SO enticing!
    I feel like I'm on the walk too. Jo-Ann