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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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Montpellier - Lodève: Sun, Sun, Sun! Hot 36 - 38C

 Arriving to Begin 

Presently sitting in the shade in front of a small bar sipping on cold Belgium Stella Artois beer after a long hot day of preparation and travel to our starting point, Lodève. Our hosts tell us that they are presently experiencing unusually hot weather more often seen in late July. Makes me happy, Annemarie not so much. A week ago temperatures of 17-18 with rain were forecast, but something has obviously changed. Do you suppose the weather gods appreciate my dislike for walking in rain and mud? 
Last night before a slightly weird dinner we stopped in at the cathedral for our first stamp which you can see in the top photo. A lovely church that has welcomed pilgrims for centuries. In the church there is a sign that shows in 2013, when we walked our first Camino from St Jean Peid de Port, 765 pilgrims passed this way. In St Jean close to 12,500 departed from there that year. Since then the Arlès Chemin, 1of 4 Camino routes with a World Heritage designation, hasn’t changed appreciatively. Hence our attraction to this Way, and as my mate Neil says, we will walk into community when we reach the Frances. I like that description.

After a generally sleepless night caused by the flip side of our sleep cycle, we crawled out of our hotel after 10 in search of breakfast. We took our time knowing that we were pretty much packed and didn’t need to begin the trek northward until around 13:00.

We caught the tram and then a bus that took us to Lodève where we found our simple but friendly accommodation before setting out to obtain our departing stamp in our credentials from the cathedral. We were surprised at the beauty of this cathedral which was built in the late 13thC and restored in the 17thC.

Inside we found the sun streaming through the beautiful stain glass windows and better still we enjoyed the peace as we had it all to ourselves. A time for quiet reflection and mental preparation for the journey ahead. 

The light cascaded against the opposite walls and across the heavy floors. The colours were simply stunning. 

I wasn’t expecting this.

Afterwards we obtained our stamp and went for a wander of this very old town. It’s situated at the confluence of the Soulondre and Lergue Rivers which offer protection on three sides, making it an ideal and easily protected settlement location. 

We also discovered a store already named for us, and we will have to give this some serious though:)

The beginning: we have an idea of what’s ahead for us in this journey, and we also know that our ideas and the reality may match up or may be quite far apart. The early stage of Alzheimer’s is somewhat similar - there is information but it’s hard to take it all in, and each experience is unique. In each instance it requires big or small adjustments; tomorrow we will start early despite our still jet-lagged state, in the hopes of mitigating the impact of the heat. An individual with Alzheimer’s may decide to write more notes to themselves to counteract memory loss. In the beginning the adjustments required of us are relatively small, but we know there will be bigger challenges ahead.

And now it’s almost 20:00 and these two pelerins are rather hungry. It will be an early start tomorrow and we are really looking forward to beginning. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the fund raising portion of our Camino For Alzheimer’s Awareness has already raised $7,920 before we’ve taken our first steps. Thank you for the generosity and support from so many. You’ve touched us deeply.


  1. It sounds like you are well and truly ready for this walk - one with extra significance as you honour Kathy's journey and seek to raise awareness of one of the toughest caminos that any of us might find ourselves on. The first stamp is always pretty poignant.

    We are curious that Lodève is your starting point - there must be a story behind that?? How nice that the weather is warm and dry to begin - now all you need is a beer named after you!!

    Bon chemin, Neil and Sarah

    1. Thanks you two! With posting the blog, Facebook, and Instagram it’s becoming a little busy here. However, we caught up this afternoon and finished getting the word out, so from here in it’s walk and post! Delighted you will be following along. Always wonderful to read your insights. Ken is having trouble posting so is sending daily emails for now.

  2. Enjoying participating in your walk from the comfort of my home office!! Great photos.