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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Friday, October 5, 2018

Étape 15: Auch - L’Isle-de-Noé, 24 kms, Toasty, 30


One of the pleasures of walking a Camino is the people you meet along the way. As I mentioned yesterday, until very recently we’ve been walking in something of a bubble without seeing many others at all. Yesterday that changed a bit as the three folks from the night before arrived and we found Jean-Philip walking to a bar with them yesterday. The usual greetings of pleasure followed and we all sat down for another drink...L-R, Belgium (Jean-Philip), French, Tahitian, French and part of a Canadian lady I know. The night before we understand that 11 slept in the donativo, last night just the 6 of us. 

When we finally left the bar in search of dinner, there’d been a wonderful transformation of the town centre. 

We all managed to get a bit of sleep and we up early given today was slated to be pretty hot. The view from our small deck.

Annemarie and I were first out the door in search of breakfast and then began a long slog out from the river valley.

At the top we took of our windbreakers and were rewarded with these beautiful roadside flowers just waking to the day.

I always like signage. We didn’t visit even though there was parking.

We’ve noticed that the French number everything. Each of the trees, and there were hundreds, along the Canal du Midi had a number tag on them. I suppose it’s so they can send out work crews. “All right team, 715 is in need of good pruning after a bad summer”. That sort of thing. Well, couldn’t figure out this one?

We noticed a slight change of direction as we proceeded. Our shadows sort of moved out to the right indicating a turn to the SW as we begin a slow arc down to the Pyrenees. They are getting closer.

It was a day of hills and sales and very nice scenery.

We arrived at Barran 

just before noon and picked up picnic supplies including locally made French bread, bree cheese and ham. We carried this through the 13thC gate,

and up to the church which is quite unique as it has a crooked, twisting spire which is just 1 of 33 in France.

We walked on to our destination in what had become a quite hot day. Again another quite long climb that we thought the route organizers were unkind to place this late in a stage! But overall it was really nice walking.

We arrived at our destination to find this 11th C town quite interesting and reasonablyunaltered.

Our home tonight with our British host Edna who has lived here the past 13 years and Ariel, she’s from just south of Manchester and a very staunch ManU supporter. Instant friendship!! We caught up on all the news in light of your email today. Shocked that Liverpool lost their CL game, but we both agreed that we’d rather have their league record:)

Edna tells us that the numbers on this route are down this year due to an extremely wet spring. The summer and fall have been brilliantly hot, but the rain here, even a day only, turns the clay into a sticky quagmire that’s almost impossible to walk through. Hence our efforts to cross to and over the Pyrenees before this weather window changes. We’ve seen the evidence everywhere and we need no further convincing. Edna thinks we should be ok. We will see.

Receiving support: While we’ve been on this journey, and even before we left, we have received a variety of supports; emails, encouragement, waves and honks from those who pass us on the road, donations, links to articles, likes and encouraging words on Facebook and Instagram, etc. We want to thank everyone who has supported in some way along the way. We are grateful for any and all supportive gestures we’ve received. We’re happy to announce that a few days ago we met our fundraising goal, and have now raised over  $8600 for the Alzheimer’s Society. We are now hoping to significantly exceed that goal, so those of you who are considering making a donation, don’t despair...we will gladly accept your contribution. We have found that it is difficult to ask for support, and we’ve had to get over our initial reluctance to do so. For people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers I have learned the same is true. They hesitate to ask, and are incredibly grateful when help is offered. For a person with Alzheimer’s it’s sometimes a battle between maintaining a level of independence and getting help with critical daily tasks. For their caregivers it can be a bit of a guessing game of when to help and when to step back, and while they’re working to solve that puzzle on a daily basis, they sometimes forget to ask for help for themselves. The range of supports offered by the Alzheimer’s Society are often the difference between struggling and surviving for people with the disease and their caregivers.

I’ve received a few requests to see our lunch as we arrived in Auch, so I guess you foodies can have a look. Don’t judge us! I can’t imagine eating this for lunch at home, but when you walk like we are walking you need the calories and the protein. And yes, it tasted great:) Irish beef no less.

1 comment:

  1. It’s wonderful that you met up with other pelerins for supper! I hope you get a chance to walk with some of them.

    And I envy the hot weather you’re having. It’s below freezing here this morning. Allegedly it’ll get up to 8, but that’s hard to believe.

    But there’s a woodpecker on the peanut feeder. “Hey, fella, time to head south!”

    It sounds like the soil there is like the soil here: sticky when wet. Gumbo clay. Not fun for walking! I hope you get to the mountains before the weather changes.

    Thanks for the pic of your steak. Why not? You’re burning 5,000 calories a day and need to replace them!