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.

If you wish to receive email notifications when we blog, just enter your email address where indicated on the right side of this page.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Étape 21: Oloron- Sarrance, 22 kms, Sun & Cloud, A strangely warm wind, 23

Into The Mountains...Finally!

Turns out the monastery Frères Prémontrés just found it’s way into this century a few weeks ago and now has wifi! So no day off for me, but a shorter stage and now we have time to catch up. Also the wifi is very fast...well done frères!

The Catherdral 

The first two photos were taken at sunset, and this was taken this morning from the medieval part of Oloron as we climbed out of town. 

I took this photo in the church and it actually turned out in a very dark room. Quite a beautiful church.

We finally left Oloron, but really liked what we saw here. This is also the town to turn off to walk towards St Jean Pied de Port and to Lourdes. Who knows what the future holds?

As we climbed up the the Aspe valley the views were worth the effort.

The little villages were quite picturesque with all the shutters and doors painted. They can come to my house anytime and paint away! We are looking at the colours with a plan to change ours when we return home.

We made a few new friends as we passed.

This one for Ken.

The dogs for Bryan. We often meet locals out walking and when they have animals with them then it’s much easier to stop and talk as the dogs usually are pretty friendly. The black one on the right is named Snow:)

About here we picked up a head wind. We expected cold winds as the pass was covered in snow just three days ago, but these were very surprisingly warm. 

Hey Dennis, here’s a ride for you! I believe this climb has been used on the Tour de France. 

The last 3 kms were along the top of a cliff that climbed and dropped to the river. Sure glad it wasn’t raining!

Then we arrived and enjoyed a late lunch, Moroccan stew no less. We are staying in the monastery in the distance.

Where I presently sit writing.

And where I’ll sleep tonight. There is a pilgrim welcome at 18:30 and dinner follows. Guess I’ll need a drink first;)

Unknowns and new realities: in her comments posted earlier, Gabi from the Alzheimer’s Society in Victoria noted a number of parallels she saw as she read through our blog (thanks, Gabi!). Tonight we are staying in a monastery, where we expect things to be very simple, and according to our guide there would be no wifi available in this town. Surprise! The wifi here is great! Last night where it was supposed to be great, it was poor. Tonight we are sharing our room (it has a great view) with a lovely German lady who wants to hear more about our cause, and we may have other roommates as well. There are at least 7 pilgrims here tonight, the most we’ve seen yet. Two nights up the road, our destination is almost fully booked, so we know that we will be sharing a dorm room that night as well. These are all part of a Camino experience...flexibility and willingness to go with the flow are important. Often these dorm experiences turn out to be very memorable, and I suspect tonight will be too. As Gabi so astutely noted, unknowns and new realities, and the need to be flexible, adjust, and go with the flow are commonplace for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. It’s not always easy, but is usually rewarding

Tomorrow another similar walk. Tonight we sleep at 344m, tomorrow at 730m, so a slow climb is in order. 

Late season lilacs? 

Bon Chemin!


  1. Beautiful vistas and it sounds like a happening monastery. Enjoy the company and shared table. The cathedral at Oloron reminds us of the Abbey at Cluny - it looked beautiful bathed in the red glow of the setting sun. May tomorrow's climb bring more delights. The road is rising to meet you!!

  2. I have always liked to watch the changing vistas as you approach the foot hills areas of the mountains. Such a freshness to the landscape and a sharpness to the vegetation really gets my attention and I am glad you have finally arrived at this part of your journey. Eat well and sleep well tonight - enjoy the higher elevations you will be encountering tomorrow. Hope the warm winds continue to greet you and encourage you along the way.

    Cheers for now. Dad