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, October 4, 2018

Étape 14: Lamothe - Auch, 24 kms, warm and sunny, 25

And They’re At The Quarter Post!

Yes, two weeks onwards and we find ourselves well along with Annemarie approximately half way to Puenta la Reina and myself at about the quarter point of my planned walk. There are four solid feet, no blisters and no new injuries to report. Thankfully things so far have gone pretty well, better since I ditched my original boots. We were talking as we walked today about the point ones’s body leaves it’s ‘normal’ state and becomes able to handle the rigours of the road. It seems to happen a bit differently on each walk and for each person. I have often said that it takes about a week, but I think this time with the focus on Kathy that it didn’t really fully click for me until yesterday. Annemarie has experienced a difficult allergic experience on each of her prior walks and says that she never clicked in, ever. However, I’m happy to report that this time it’s been different. Removal of the diuretic from her blood pressure med, plus a halving of the dose appears to have solved a long time problem. It makes perfect sense. After all, who needs a diuretic when one is going to walk all day and sweat a ton? So this is all good. I think Annemarie will be presenting something about this so I’d better move on!

So a couple of things from yesterday. First of all Annemarie made a new friend! Funny how cats go to the person who least likes them. 

Secondly, Ken asked what dinner looked like last night in the gîte. It looked like this:)

As you can tell from the first two photos we were up and away before the sunrise. We were hoping to stay in Auch for a possible rest day, but there is an annual film festival happening and most of the beds are taken up. So we decided that if we got into gear early there would be more time to see a bit of the city. 

The day started out with what it ended with yesterday...hills. But there were new vistas as new characters to meet along the way. 

We passed by a really old mill, 

and found the early morning sunlight enhancing a small church.

We also pasted a couple of chateaus today, but they weren’t anything like the Loire Valley properties, more like summer homes for those who owned those massive chateau. However, the more prosperous farms looked pretty nice. This one is probably one of those well known square set farms also built in early times for defence. 

This one is more typical of the newer farm properties. Actually quite nice.

Of course there were the usual nice views along the way.

There was also this lady who wouldn’t stop following me.

We happened upon the striking town of Montégut and thought it might be a good place to take a break. However, there were no stores or cafes so we walked on.

At some point we saw a road sign that said 6 kms to Auch, so we decided to depart the GR which still had 9 kms and we sorted out the highways into town. A good decision as we arrived in time for a late lunch. If I showed you a photo you would be both envious that we could eat what we ate for lunch, and you’d want one too. So I’ll spare you, but it was super good and involved loads of protein and also I think a cow was allegedly involved:)

After our simple lunch we walked into the heart of the old city and up to the cathedral. 

As pelerin we get free entry to most church based things and it was no different when we went to see the 113 seat choir stalls complete with 1500carved  figures. Gord, you would like this!

This is also the room where we received a stamp in our credentials. 

Saint Jacques gets a small acknowledgment here,

but he receives a nice uptick in the Renaissance windows created by Moles. The middle guy.

The inside of the cathedral was pretty good too.

Then it was off to our very humble donativo where we will sleep tonight.

Basic, but with a nice view!

Sitting in a cheap bar where we have wifi to post, and drinks. Anything familiar here Rob? Not sure which one is the chaser?

The right medication: 

For the last several walks I have encountered a very unpleasant “allergic reaction” that includes difficulty breathing, hives, swelling, nausea, dizziness, severe pain, purpula and disorientation. On our first Camino I ended up in the emergency room when these symptoms became intense enough to cause serious concern. The doctor at the time identified it as a reaction to a medication, but couldn’t pin it down specifically. This summer due to a recall on my blood pressure medication, I eliminated the diuretic and reduced the blood pressure component. In monitoring my blood pressure it was clear these changes had no negative impacts. It occurred to me that it might be the medication that was triggering the reaction. Now that I’m half way through my walk, this is proving to be true. In all my other walks I had some level of this condition, and two weeks in, I am symptom free! The caregivers in my support group spent one session discussing how important it is to get the right medication or combination of medications, and how frustrating it is when the medication is wrong. This is intensified when the person with Alzheimer’s has difficulty communicating or remembering. It takes a great deal of patience and advocacy on the part of the caregiver to work to get the right combination for the person they care for. From my experience I can attest first hand to the frustration when it’s wrong, and the relief when it’s right.


  1. It's good to hear that Annemarie is symptom free and that at last there is some explanation for those reactions. You two sound like you are really enjoying yourselves and the freedoms of the road (including yummy meals and generous hospitality from locals). Long may it continue. Bon chemin.

    PS. I bet Ken would like to see a photo of that lunch!

  2. You’ll never guess what—it’s snowing again today! I’m going to walk in it, the first time all week ive had the chance.

    So much bare earth in the fields. I wonder if the farmers are planting winter wheat? It would make sense if they were.

    Thanks for the pic of dinner. I think you should post the pic of your lunch, too, and let your readers drool.

    It’s my blood-pressure medication that causes my heat exhaustion. I don’t like it.

    Okay, on with the day. Enjoy your walk!


  3. I am loving following along with you, seeing your beautiful pictures and understanding better what a journey like this looks like. And glad to hear about the impact of your meds on your experience this time. And what a good reminder of how extraordinarily frustrating such an experience would be for someone whose communication was compromised.