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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Monday, October 8, 2018

Étape 18: Moubourguet- Anoye, 23kms, Sun/Cloud mix, 18

A Thanksgiving Day Walk

Knowing it was a national holiday at home we took it easy today leaving our gîte well after 8. 
The sky looked like threatening as we set off with our lights flashing to warn the cars that we were on the side of the road. As usual we began with a nice climb that woke us up and also warmed our bodies. The morning sky began to suggest that there would be no rain for us today. Perhaps it had gone to Australia as requested by Neil yesterday to help ease their drought. 

Given the low light for photography and the understanding from MMDD that there wouldn’t be any wifi tonight I figured that it would be ok as I couldn’t post on the blog. However, the light improved and it turns out that I do have wifi so there you are. You never know what’s going to happen on the Camino!

I could have called this post something like slipping and sliding because at times that’s just what the walking was like after the rains and the resulting heavy wet clay that resulted. 

There were signs of the water everywhere. Quite refreshing actually, and we didn’t have to wear any rain gear which was nice. The grass was soaking wet and the toes of our boots got a bit wet, but nothing serious. Yesterday Annemarie wrote that she got wet in her rain gear, but really she was trying to make a point and both of us stayed quite dry. I just edited her comment slightly before posting it:). As I said, our boot toes both got a bit damp which is disappointing given the Gortex linings are new and I’d waterproofed both sets of boots. Such is life. There’s always newspaper to stuff in over night. 

These ladies seem to be enjoying themselves!

A few even got right in my face hoping that I had a bit more food to share! 

Then we began to find evidence that suggested a nice fall Thanksgiving Day.

We began to think of all the places we’ve been on Thanksgiving since we’ve retired; 2015 cycling through northern France and Belgium, 2016 walking the Le Puy route in France, 2017 was the Yukon and now in 2018 here we are walking in France again. We sure do like retirement! Sorry Rob. 

Nice to see so many enjoying the damp ground. No rain for three months.

Also seemed to bring out all these orange guys?

Again a nice day of playing “hill up, hill down”. Really beautiful country.

As we approached Anoye we wondered what the community gîte would be like...we saw this first. And fortunately there wasn’t a sign.

Then we found this...

And as usual, things worked out nicely. We are on the second floor above the city hall. There was a great shower and there is a good kitchen and nice wood bunks for 12 in two rooms. We have our own room as so far there is just a young guy Danny from Quebec, and we will share our meal with him as he’s arrived without carrying any food. There’s no store in this town, but the fridge is full of cold beer!! So we are very thankful for a good roof over our heads and a place to cook our dinner and the ability to share our meal with another pelerin which of course is a Thanksgiving Day tradition.

Balancing Act: twice today our route seemingly led us to impassable washed out roads, and then we looked around and found a rickety looking bridge close by. There were, in fact three bridges like this for us to cross today, and each time I felt my sense of safety and balance slightly tested. Most of us are aware of the impact of Alzheimer’s on our mental processes; memory, problem solving, language processing, etc. Alzheimer’s also has an impact on an individual’s physical capabilities, impacting sight, hearing, and balance in earlier stages and progressively impacting many other physical functions. In crossing these bridges today, I was reminded that people with Alzheimer’s often feel less stable when walking, an effect of both tunnel vision and slower mental processing. Those moments I experienced on the bridges today become  increasingly common for people with Alzheimer’s.

To our family and many friends, have a very nice Thanksgiving where ever you might be.

Bon Chemin.   Geoff & Annemarie 


  1. Glad you managed those bridges, Annemarie. Nice domestic scenes today. Much to be thankful for. Bon chemin!

  2. Hi again,

    Another great day! A little dampness in the boots—nothing’s perfect. My boots get damp inside from perspiration!

    I loved the bridge Annemarie was walking across. And, of course, the pumpkins.

    Enjoy your walk today!


  3. I commented on this blog yesterday. It holds up to a second reading! I like the photo of the bridge, and the one of the cows, too. Who knows what those animals are thinking? You’d expect them to be more fearful, but maybe they see quite a few walkers passing by.


  4. just when you think there are no options - suddenly something appears. Maybe not what you expected - but at least there are options!