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 18, 2018

Étape 27: Berdun- Sangüesa, 22 kms, Sunny, 22

Foz de Lumbier 

There was really no need to be up early this morning as our bus wasn’t coming past until 9:25 and breakfast in the bar wasn’t until 8:00, but I wake early and had the pleasure of watching the early morning light touch the sky. Perhaps my favourite time of the day when the church bells aren’t ringing yet and the flies haven’t started buzzing into our room:)

After breakfast we walked down from the town to the National highway and waited for our bus. We aren’t use to such big skies where we live unless we are looking out on the ocean, so I really enjoyed the ‘big sky’. My friend Ken lives in Regina and when he posts local walks there is always a huge piece of sky. Not much else, but so much sky! One day Ken maybe we will go walking under that sky with our cameras. 

The bus dropped us at Liédena and we soon found the variant that I’d done a bit of research on last winter. It’s an old wide gage railway bed that was built in 1911 and was used until a wild New Years party in 1955. At least that’s what I figured out when reading between the lines from this sign using my marginal Spanish. The dates work. You can see just how wide the track was separated by the black bricks to the left. 

We set off and soon caught up to a local who was out enjoying his morning stroll. He showed us a short cut and we went one way, he the other. We passed through an olive grove with trees heavily loaded.

Later we found a font and while we were dumping our heavily chlorinated water and replacing it with cleaner tasting water, he reappeared. For the next several kilometres he entertained us with information about the area and the route we were walking. 

He told us about the local Roman road and the Roman settlement just across the way. He was willing to share his local knowledge and we felt quite fortunate that we’d bumped into him.

He left us at the first tunnel which is 600 metres long and very dark in the middle. Lights on!

Outside the tunnel there is a broken bridge that use to be a part of the original Camino Aragones, but the story goes that the devil destroyed the bridge. Actually it was was the French.

After passing through the tunnel we found ourselves at the start of the Foz or Gorge. By the way, we are getting as tired of wearing these same walking clothes as I’m sure you are of looking at them! As the weather cools in the coming weeks, I expect to make a wardrobe adjustment. 

The Foz.

After the second tunnel we came out of the gorge and walked 3 or 4 kms to Lumbier...which has a nice medieval bridge, Neil.

We visited a medical clinic for a small issue (don’t worry Mom, really simple) and Rob I used SayHi app to communicate. Worked great and the doctor downloaded it onto his phone as well. We found a nice lunch at a small tucked away bar and then we retraced our steps back to Leidena and picked up the highway there for the grind into Sangüesa.

Getting a diagnosis: It was fortuitous today, when we happened upon a clinic that was not busy, and Geoff was able to quickly address his minor medical issue. His mind was put to rest and he was given treatment to prevent any further development. Since becoming involved with the Alzheimer’s Society I have had a number of conversations with people who are concerned for themselves or for a loved one. They are noticing subtle symptoms, and have asked if their concerns are legitimate. I always tell them to go to a doctor to have it checked out. I have also talked to people who are afraid of exploring a diagnosis because of the stigma attached to the disease. In my view, like any other medical condition, exploring these concerns with a doctor helps to identify next steps. For people with Alzheimer’s, some treatments may have an impact, and even if treatment isn’t available, there are a range of other supports, including help to plan for the future. A diagnosis (or lack of one) may not always be good news, but it does help when it comes to determining next steps.

Tonight we are staying in a simple truck stop. The room smells of cigarettes, but the shower is ‘lively’ and the bed is fairly level. We are happy to have a bed, a cold beer and food tonight, just 60 kms from Puenta la Reina which we intend to reach in two days. Both of us are getting excited to revisit our first Camino route and relive some of the early memories of our 2013 Camino. 

Buen Camino!


  1. Another good day. Really enjoyed the pictures of the canyon. Must have been great walking along the trails above the river - not unlike the Fraser Canyon route in B.C. but you had the added bonus of the" pathway tunnels" versus the "highway tunnels" along the Fraser. Not aware of any similar "people" tunnels on the Fraser but I suspect there could well be some type of passage ways for foot traffic considering the extended length of the river passage.

    Good comments of yours Annemarie. I suspect they could apply to most of us at some time during our lifetime.


  2. Another lovely day! We can hope for an opportunity to walk together on the flat lands, but there won’t be any fozes to look at, unless we were to walk in the badlands, which is a possibility. I liked the shot of the olives. Ever try any right off the tree? I recall them being rather sour.

    Two long stages left until Puenta la Reina. Annemarie goes home from there, or she walks the Frances a while with you?

    I’m happy to hear your medical issue wasn’t serious.

    Anyway, enjoy your walk today!