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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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Étape 9: Cahuzac- Besombes, 25 kms, sunny, warm, 26

Saturday Markets!

Imagine our surprise this morning, though I guess it shouldn’t have been, when we found an even bigger market setup in the central square on our way to find breakfast. 

It was just 7 AM and already there were lots of people checking out the produce and many more people beginning to stream in. Pretty exciting I suppose, but  where’s my breakfast? We did eventually find it in the various stalls and we sat in the dark by the river munching away.

Then we piled into the car and Super Domestic Bob drove the team out of Castres 30kms down the road to where we’d finished up yesterday. And off we went with a nice downhill start. I knew it was going to be a good day!

And of course Le Trois Pelerins had to play with their shadows!

As the sun came up behind us.

Soon after my compatriots found a perch and there was a bit of resistance to continuing.

Not all dogs one meets on the Chemin bark at us. A very select few are very supportive once they read our pennes on our packs.

We walked into the very cool medieval town of Sorèze and took our time wandering the streets as we passed through. A real gem held in time, and not a tour bus in sight!

One of the highlights of the walk I think.

We reluctantly left town and headed direction Revel where we would meet Bob. It’s also our place where we will place our heads tonight and recover. 

Were we having fun? Of course!

It took a while to connect with Bob, but once we did we walked into the centre of town and found...a Saturday market! A huge market where markets have been held since the 11th C. 

The big roof in the centre of the square is held up by huge beams and is the core of the market. 

So we’d seen these massive cooking pans earlier today filled with paella and other delights and I really wanted some, but it was too early. But it was now close to noon, so we purchased some and took it along with us as Annemarie and I walked on.

This was lunch today beside a stream we followed for a further 15 kms. Oh, there was also a brownie too! Gotta keep the energy and spirits up:)

We will continue along this stream all day tomorrow, so I won’t talk about this today except to say that it meandered along and the trees bordering provided us with lovely shade on a warm afternoon. We met up with our Kiwi family from a couple of days ago and they have taken a day off in Revel to recover from a bit of heat stroke. A good reminder about just how hot it gets out there on the trail. 

A few months ago Annemarie made arrangements for Kathy to join a Burnaby based Alzheimer’s support group provided by the BC Alzheimer Society. Kathy has been going fairly regularly. Bob has sent them a few of our walking photos and they’ve been really excited about what Kathy is doing and shared them amoung the group. As an indication of where the donations towards our Camino For Alzheimer’s Awareness go, $100 provides some one in the early stages of dementia with the opportunity to join others for 5 sessions of Minds In Motion, a social and fitness program. $500 funds a person to attend. Support group like Kathy is or a support group like Annemarie facilitates for caregivers for a year. We thought that by breaking things down a bit that everyone would have a better idea about where their donations end up. By the way, we are pleased to note that we’ve received 4 nice donations the past week, and thanks so much for this. We really appreciate the support!

Conversations With Kathy:

Following up on a comment Kathy made yesterday I asked her what people can do to help when she is having difficulty conversing. Yesterday she noted that she misses having good conversations, and if people are patient, she’ll get there. Today she started by noting there are good days and bad days, and the amount of help required varies if one day conversation is difficult, try again another day. I have also been reminded that introducing the conversation early, rather than later in the day works better. I asked if asking questions to seek clarification is a help or a hindrance, and she responded that most of the time it’s helpful. Kathy understands about the plaques and tangles that are getting in the way, and she will sometimes say “just wait, and my brain will catch up “ while making a weaving motion with her hands to show the roundabout pathway her brain is taking. She also said that conversing while walking is helpful; there’s something about walking and talking that works for most of us, and we’re finding great opportunities on these days together.

Bon Chemin!


  1. I am loving following your journey. Your blog is so eloquently written and the pictures are fabulous. It makes me want to join you on your camino and eat paella alongside you all!

    I have just finished teaching a 2.5 hour session here at the Alzheimer Society of BC in Victoria (yes, on a Saturday morning :) . It was the last of a 5 Part Family Caregiver Series, and I was touched to hear from all of the participants how helpful the series had been, how much better they understand the disease and how much more competent they feel to face the journey ahead. Thank you to all of you who have donated to the Alzheimer Society of BC. Your donation allows us to reach more people affected by dementia, be it people with the diagnosis or their family members and friends.

    Keep up the great blog, your spirits and your determination! Thank you Annemarie, Geoff, and Kathy and Bob!

    Meriel Randerson, Support & Education Coordinator, Alzheimer Society of BC, Victoria Resource Centre, 250-382-2052 (We welcome all calls.)

  2. Hello all. Those Saturday markets are a wonderful French practice, and it sounds like you timed your encounters very well - breakfast and lunch! We loved the look of Sorèze too. We're particularly appreciating the 'Conversations with Kathy' segment and Kathy's sharing of what's helpful and not for her on her journey with Alzheimers. We were taken with her comment about 'walking and talking' being helpful - in the Circle of Trust retreats we run, we often do what we call a 'Walk and Talk' in pairs, as people are reflecting on a particular question, and it's always a fruitful time. Something about the rhythm of walking that helps the brain waves to flow?? Or is it about activating the connection between head and 'heart'? We hope you had a great evening with Bob, who seems to be doing a sterling job. Bon chemin, Sarah and Neil

  3. Another lovely day of walking. I liked your lunch!

    It’s good that you’re able to talk to Kathy about her disease.And then tell the rest of us about those conversations. That’s important. My dad wasn’t all that open about talking about his dementia, although once he referred to a friend with Parkinson’s and said, “he has a condition similar to mine.” He had Lewy body dementia, with the usual cognitive decline but also psychomotor problems and hallucinations. There was no good outcome for him, but he had a heart attack before he couldn’t live at home any more, and that was the end.

    Have a great day tomorrow!