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 23, 2018

Étape 32: Los Arcos - Lagroño, 29 kms, Sunny, Windy, cool 16

Crossing The Line

Last night we were invited to join a couple from Ireland walking to Burgos (roommates tonight) and a couple from Pau (foreground) who cycled the Norte and are on there way back along the Frances before turning towards home and crossing the Col du Somport. We had lots of fun and exchanged Camino and cycling stories. It just happens that way when walking Camino. Mary, the French woman front left could be your sister or cousin. That close.

I formed a nice friendship with one of two dogs at the next table, also walking to Santiago. Note the shell. Said dog kept putting his head on my lap, perhaps hoping for a morsel of food to become available.

Given it was to be a fairly long stage and we had to get organized for Annemarie’s departure we headed off fairly early in the dark. It’s important to understand that in this part of Spain as we head westward the sun doesn’t rise until 8:30. So even starting at 7:30 like we did today is beginning in the dark.

As we approached Sansol the sun finally created the hills. I have a beautiful photo of a sunrise that I took from this exact location hanging on a wall at home. That morning the sky was completely on fire as I looked behind me. It was breathtaking, but today was ok too.

The early light caught and held Sansol for a moment.

Annemarie’s last day today and she wasn’t wasting a minute of it!

This is what pilgrims do as they try to stay present moment and deal with whatever it is that they are trying to deal with while on their Camino.

It looks nice, but I’ve no idea where they find the additional energy! If you look closely you’ll see a Canadian flag in the tree. It’s quite amazing what extras folks carry in their packs.

There was a bit of climbing today, more tomorrow, and the first two thirds of the walk is quite nice. You can see Logroño in the distance. It’s much further than it looks from up here. Trust me.

We found a few grapes today, but maybe just the late harvest is left.

Annemarie was in a really nice place today.

You see, she gets to arrive, pack her dirty laundry in her pack and then fly off to be spoilt by our wonderful family members in Holland for the next week. Yup, she’s smiling. I think everyone must have a photo of this wall:)

I remembered the walk into Logroño being quite a slog in 2013. It was hotter then and Annemarie was pretty much at the end of her rope (she would spend much of the next day in the local hospital). 

Frankly, it’s still a slog, but then you’re in and it’s a pretty nice place. As we approached town we crossed the provincial border, and you know what that means!

Yup, new signage! Oh, and some different wine I think. Most of which is shipped to the EU, Canada and America.

Self care: At this point in the Camino Frances (around day 6 or 7 for most people) you will notice variously forms of bandaging, most often on feet for blisters, but also on knees, ankles or even wrists. These bandages are almost badges of honour, showing that the pilgrim has “pushed through” some form of challenge to get this far.  With experience we have learned how to prevent these sorts of injuries, making the walk not so much a test as a pleasure. For caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s especially in the early stages, there is also this tendency to “push through” the newly forming challenges they are experiencing. They may resist accessing help, and only later realize that asking for help earlier might have prevented unnecessary difficulties. Attending information sessions or support groups, for instance can give the caregiver knowledge and an opportunity to learn from others who have a shared experience. 

We both agree that this has been our best walking experience together. We have been in sync on this project for the past 10 months and it has been something quite special in our lives to have the opportunity to learn about Alzheimer’s and to find ways to contribute in a small way towards better awareness within our circle of friends and family. I think it would have been nice to have Annemarie come along for another week, however, some aging family in Holland means that the opportunity to visit is quite precious. I will continue to walk on blooooooging, Facebooking and Instagraming for as long as I can until I either collapse in a pile of gear, reach Santiago or run out of time with my Schengen Visa. Some days I’ll try my best to fill the role that Annemarie has so capably managed, explaining the Alzheimer’s/walking parallels that we’ve found along the way. And other days Annemarie will write something better and email it to me for posting.

Thanks to so many for the encouraging emails and messages. It really helps and we look for them every day. We’ve covered around 900 kms with about 600 kms left in front of me. Stay tuned.


  1. Yahoooo! Congratulations Mama, and keep going Daddio! Can’t wait to see what the road ahead brings. Love you both! Xo

  2. Well done, Annemarie. It's great that you two have so enjoyed this walk together. We loved your photos today - the light on the haystacks, the rows of olives and grapes. Here's to the next stage for both of you - Annemarie in Holland, Geoff in Rioja!