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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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Étape 25: Jaca - Arras 27 kms, Sun, 20

Back On The Road Again!

I found this oblique photograph on the wall of a bar and thought it nicely illustrated the area we walked through from the Col du Somport and down the valley to Jaca. The Col is in between the 2nd and 3rd peaks from the right. And then one descends in an ‘S’ pattern down the valley through Canfranc and finally into Jaca in the foreground. If you look carefully in the left side of Jaca you will see the star shaped fortress. The peaks are about 2500-2700 metres high, a decent size.

Today as you will see in a few of my photos there is snow up on the peaks again following the passage of the very damaging storm that passed a couple of days ago. In France there was flooding and damage in many southern areas and we met some British motorcyclists today who were caught out by the storm as well.

We found a really nice little restaurant last night and were treated a little like family by the owner. The food was quite reasonable and was very good.

There have been quite a few pilgrims arriving into Jaca the past two days on foot, bus and train and they have sort of stacked up there with the poor weather having disrupted the flow. So we were up in decent time and walked out into a really nice foggy morning. 

I thought it made for a nice sunrise.

There was some scenery along the way, but overall a very easy stage as there wasn’t much climbing, so we could have walked on. However, there aren’t many places to stay between here and Puenta La Reina, so we need to stage the walking days so we have a place to sleep. We actually booked ahead a few days as places have booked up with the extra peregrinos around, many just walking for a week. 

I think we saw this guy somewhere in France, but he was bronze was just outside Pau. He does get around!

We passed through a quite special place along the river where peregrinos have built cairns along the side of the trail for many years.

There was a bit of road side walking today, but at lease we weren’t on the highway as is usually the norm in France. Spain typically provides a small trail beside busy highways for the peregrinos which is always appreciated. 

The best part of the walk was when we left the main road and started to climb up to Arras. The views were really nice.

Tonight we are staying in a very small village just off the main route. At this point there are just three of us here for the night. The village is quite quaint and it’s a bit of heaven except for the other pilgrim whose a lawyer from New York and he talks incessantly. It’s been hard to write the blog today:)

Our view.

The Importance of Respite: when we arrived in Jaca, we were wet and very tired. Geoff said his brain was rebelling against his attempts to remember and use his Spanish. We needed a break, and yet resisted. Two days later, having finished a 27 kilometre walk both still feeling “fresh” we realize what a good thing it was to take a break. Our Spanish is coming back more easily and we are rejuvenated. For those who care for a person with Alzheimer’s the temptation is to carry on without taking a break. The members of my support group have expressed feeling guilty when taking time for themselves; Geoff and I felt a little guilty about taking a break as well. Invariably, however, when caregivers do access some form of respite and have someone else provide care for their person, they feel refreshed. We used the time to do a number of chores, and to take advantage of the comfort of a hotel room (and yes, we slept in a little on our day off). Caregivers may need the time for chores that they just get behind on, or they may take a much needed holiday. It’s often a hard decision to make, but one that, in hindsight, is a wise choice. 

Buen Camino!   Not too sure about wifi tomorrow...


  1. Very pleasant country today. Liked the picture of Jaca (larger than I thought it would be) with the snowy range in the back ground. Annemaries comments about the importance of rest days and /or a brief holiday are well taken and pay off in the long run. The world always looks sunnier when you are rested and your body rejuvenated after a challenging period - also a good dinner helps too!! Another couple of days and you will be able to smell the soft sea air of the Atlantic.

    Sunny and bright in Victoria today and the forecast is more of the same for the next week.

    Cheers for now. Dad

  2. Blue skies, rolling hills, flowing streams, winding paths - a great day to be out walking. What a gift!

  3. Before I left, I took a look at the blog. Another great day, sunshine, hills, etc. Thanks for carrying us along with you, in spirit.

    Respite care was essential when my mother was looking after my father, and she could’ve used even more than what she was able to find. I wasn’t a lot of help, living here and not knowing the routines etc. when I visited. I think if he hadn’t died so suddenly she would’ve had to find a home for him, because it was too much for her. She would probably disagree, though.

    Off to the restaurant—an hour’s walk to the north. Not that far, really.