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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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Étape 30: Puenta la Reina - Estella, 22 kms, Sunny, 24

Déjà vu!

We had expected it, but still it was a bit overwhelming to see all the peregrinos this morning. We saw more people walking during the first hour than we’d seen during the past month! It took us both right back to 2013, though there were fewer than early September of that year. It will be fun, but it will also take a bit of getting used to as most of the walks I/we have done over the past few years have been very quiet. There was a lot of slow shuffling from the usual early stage blisters and sore knees. After all, many of these folks are just on the third to fifth stage of their Camino and the injuries are mounting. 

It was certainly a day of déjà vu. Even something as simple as walking down the street evoked memories in both of us. 

And looking back after crossing the large Roman bridge was a bit weird, but we tried to shake it off and stay present.

We will stick with the ‘standard’ three stages to Logroño where Annemarie will depart. Just in time as it turns out. Winter is coming next weekend!

We didn’t see this guy in 2013, so I guess something was new.

The long, steep climb out of the river basin is still there, but this time Annemarie basically flew up it. Last time, unknown to us, she was in the early stages of her allergic reaction and really had problems. Today she commented on how the three next stages were quite horrible for her, and how she’s so happy to return and experience them as they were meant to be experienced. I’m very happy for her!! It made for a much shorter day and gave us time to enjoy the walk and have time in Estella which we simply passed through last time. 


Soon after followed by a favourite view towards Cirauqui. 

It was just beside the olive plantation that we first said “Ola” to Neil and Sarah. We later started speaking in more than one syllable sentences the next day in Los Arcos. The Camino literally passes right through this building. The only place I’ve ever seen this.

A glance backwards.

Turns out that not all the grapes have been harvested by peregrinos along this stretch. Still a scenic as ever.

And what would the Camino be without a piece of the original Roman Road? Probably easier on the feet! 

Raise your hand if you remember this canal.

We arrived in Lorca and took a break with a cold drink and a shared tortilla with eggs and potato...brilliant! 

Estella is just over the hill.

And then we were at that lovely fuente where the water is so cold and refreshing! 

You might have noticed a new shirt on me? Need a little moreearly morning warmth and this one is slightly thicker. In a couple of days I’ll lose the hat too and move to my small folding cap. The old guy Tilley has done its job through the hot days. With the colder weather just ahead and rain forecast for the Meseta I’ll be happier putting on rain hoods and ponchos with just a cap. I have a buff that I’ll use as a toque with my rain gloves on cold mornings, and the forecast in a week says that the early morning temps will be around -3. Hmmmm? I may need some advice from my amigo Ken who walks to work at the university in Regina in the winter. He’s one tough dude!

We arrive in Estella.

 I’ve been here before: According to, last night we stayed at the same hotel that we stayed at 5 years ago when in Puenta La Reina; the surprising thing is that neither Geoff nor I remember it. The same is true for some of the route we walked today...we remember some, but not all of it, and we each remembered different pieces of it. When we came into Estella, we both remember the font - a Camino icon - as larger than it actually is. We both have fond memories of sitting in the square watching the children play while we ate lunch, but today it took us some time to find the square. The link to Alzheimer’s with regard to these experiences is obvious, the impact on memory for those with Alzheimer’s is one of the best known features of the disease. Just as Geoff and I are remembering different things, the impact on memory for people with Alzheimer’s also varies. As we thought about what we remember and what we don’t, it made us think about things that impact memory. Last time we were here, there was the element of novelty, while this time we are more experienced, making us attend to different things. Last time I was feeling unwell, while Geoff was eager for all this new experience had to offer. While I know that the location of plaques and tangles impacts what and how people with Alzheimer’s remember, I suspect there are also contextual factors that play a part. 

It’s Sunday back at home and a good day to consider what those suffering from Alzheimer’s and their supports might need in the way of assistance. We know that the Alzheimer’s Society would be very appreciative of your donation, as would we. Thanks for your consideration. We passed by and spoke with several other Canadian pilgrims today who were really interested in our project and asked for the blog link as did our land lady tonight whose caring for her grandmother. We are discovering what a world wide problem this disease is and people are looking for answers and support. Our conversations with the many people we meet are helping us to push onwards. Oddly the faster we can walk the more people we pass who see our pennants on the back of our packs and stop us to talk about Alzheimer’s and what’s going on in their own lives on that front.

Buen Camino! 


  1. Replies
    1. You should jump on a plane and get yourself over here. The beer is good, and for the present so is the weather🍺🚶🏼🛫

  2. Wow, it's great to see this country and some of the landmarks again - it stirs many memories. Great photos (although from the ones that have downloaded on our laptop, not another peregrino in them - you must have raced ahead, which isn't surprising considering how road hardened you both are! It's great that Annemarie can walk this bit again feeling so much better. Have a good evening in Estella and a good walk tomorrow. BC!