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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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Étape 20: Pau - Oloron, 33 kms, Sunny, bit of cloud, 24

Walk Up, Walk Down. Repeat All Day!

Today has been a long day and it’s late here. We are waiting for dinner so I’ll try to get something posted. It’s pizza tonight. Yum! 

This is a day that’s been on our watch list for a while as it’s known to be a bit challenging, but it was a good thing because we are just a couple of days from the Somport Pass, so the legs could use a bit of a climbing. If we could have just sent our legs then we would have, but it doesn’t quite work that way so we both had to go with our packs. Actually it was a wonderful day of walking. The sky was generally blue and the villages we walked through were quite interesting, some dating well back to the early pilgrimage times. 

We found ourselves almost immediately into the Haute-Pyrenees wine area with flowing vineyards filling many of the hillsides. 

Really very pleasant to walk through. I took so many photos today, but I’ll only post a few. Now back in our hotel which has just horrible wifi,

We are heading directly south now and we haven’t had quite the views of the mountains that we enjoyed today.

They seemed to come closer and then retreated depending on our directional variations. 

We walked into the medieval town of Lacommande which was a central point for Pelerins in times past. The town was pretty, the dogs welcoming and we were able to collect our daily stamp here too. There was for several centuries a hospital here that cared for the Pelerins. The small church was nice on the outside, but the old stain glass in the sunlight was really quite special.

Like I said the dogs were kind of fun today. Some came over to be scratched around their ears, others ran up and down fences barking like crazy and this fellow was stuck on the second floor of a barn trying to get our attention. They are always endlessly entertaining!

We met 6 other pelerin on the trail today including a couple who walk each stage then hitch hike back to pick up their camper van to then drive back to the end of the stage. The oddest way to walk, and they said that they wouldn’t be doing this again. They head home in three days. They did tell us that they had heard about us from Jean-Phillip earlier and they were very interested in our Camino. Others have been discussing the two Canadians walking for Alzheimer’s and so our pinnies on the back of our packs and our t-shirts are doing their thing as we’d hoped. The Camino telegraph is in full force here, even with the limited number of pelerin on this route. As a matter of fact when we arrived in Oloron late today we heard a fellow yelling at us to wait. Turns out his name was Richard from Vancouver Island where we live and he’d seen my post on the Camino forum and recognized the back of our packs from the photos I’d posted. We talked for a half hour, but we really just wanted to get to our hotel, dump our gear and have a shower! But nonetheless it seems that the word is getting out there!

As we got closer to Oloron we found this area where there was exercise gear along side the trail. I mean really! Who needs this? However I did jump on a piece so that I could ask my buddy Dennis if he’s getting to the gym? 

Oloron is quite the little gem. Two rivers join here and we will walk up one of them tomorrow. If we weren’t trying to beat the rains that are coming in this Sunday for the following 4-5 days then we would have happily stayed here for a couple of nights. Neil, the Col de Tormela and several other famous Tour de France rides are all within 30minutes of here, not to mention the Col d’Aspe nd of course the Somport itself. We will be walking along the Aspe River for the next couple of days as we climb closer to the pass. 

Brain weary: As we continue this journey without a break, we are becoming progressively more weary. The last two long days, have particularly taken their toll. Geoff’s lapse regarding his camera is good evidence of that. Today we arrived into town and wanted to look around, but found ourselves short on time, and we were hungry since we each only had an apple and some sausage for lunch. All of this takes a toll on brain function, resulting in difficulty making decisions and solving simple problems (like finding a place to eat). Caregiver stress can have the same impact, where caregivers struggle to get through simple daily tasks. In the early stages an individual with Alzheimer’s may use a lot of energy trying to maintain regular routines, and this can significantly tire them. We sympathize!

We will be staying in Sarrance tomorrow night, a shorter stage with a continued steady climb. We are staying in a monastery with an order of friars and I don’t think there will be any internet there. However, I have data on my cell and messages and emails can find us. We should have wifi to post the next night. 

Another thing, several folks have posted our blog link to their Facebook page, and many thanks for this. Yesterday our friend Ken posted our blog address on his Facebook page and we are asking others to consider doing the same to help get the message out there. Passing it on through social media is of course the quickest way these days. Thanks everyone!


  1. Stunning photos today. Love those mountains looming and the names sound familiar after many late nights (here) watching 'Le Tour'. Hope you found a sustaining evening meal and can rest well for all that's in store tomorrow. Bon chemin.

  2. Oh the pictures of Oloron are so lovely. Hope you get some moments to have a bit of a longer rest soon!