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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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Étape 33: Logroño- Nájera, 30 kms, Sun, but strong cold headwinds, 6-15 later 21.

First 2, then 4, then 2: And Finally There Was One Peregrino  

Last night was an evening out with our Irish amigos for tapas! We visited the vino and tapas area of the old town and had quite a good time. 

The tapas were good, the Rioja vino better! 

We liked Logroño last time, and we liked it again this time. 

As they say, all good fh8ngs come to an end. This morning Annemarie decided to leave early to catch the train to Madrid and then find her way to the airport. I decided there wasn’t much point in hanging around, so geared up and set off in the dark to find breakfast. Initially I had no luck and just as I was resigning myself to a 13 km walk before breakfast I spotted a nice cozy bar. Success! Honest Mom, that’s how they serve the eggs here, fork straight up! 

Then it was out the door into the cool morning air to find my way out of Logroño. It’s actually quite a long walk out of the city and sometimes spoting markers is a bit problematic. Other times it’s a pleasure.

A nice exit spot as I passed under the highway.

A very cold wind this morning. Clearly there is a weather change coming in as the winds were brisk and head on. Afteryesterday's cold start I changed things up and put Annemarie’s moreno buff around my neck and my own on my head as a tuque. I also added a second technical t-shirt under my windbreaker. Worked much better keeping me warm. I’ll have to improvise yet again in the coming days as temperatures are forecast to drop. I’m still walking in shorts, but I’ll be putting my rain pants on as the temps drop. Most peregrinos had pants on today. Wimps!

The sun rose as I passed the small lake, Grajera.

Looking back to Logroño as I slowly climb out of the valley. Apparently I missed the setting moon this morning and I’ll have to watch for it tomorrow.

The vines were picked mostly clean early on, but there were a few nice grapes left for a hungry peregrino to taste. Very sweet with great tannin levels. I saw the machines clearing a vin yard as I walked. 

Photos from a few well known locations as I wandered past. Fence memorabilia and stick crosses.
The black bull which advertises a wine company.

Looking up hill and Navarrete come into focus. There was only one bar open and it was busy so I walked on. 

The church...

was quite lovely inside and again I had it all to myself. Like I said, the bar was really busy serving cafe con leches to everyone, but when you don’t drink coffee...  A special place for St. Jacques, not slaying anything presently:)

Still 17kms to walk and I’d walked past most folks. I have to in order to advertise our walk with the patch on my back. Some stop,me to chat about Alzheimer’s, many do not. So many languages spoken on the Camino. 

Grape spotting was excellent fun today!

I caught a few! One of the pleasures of a fall Camino.

Nájera in the distance behind me.

A pilgrim poem written in German and Spanish which is unsigned and a favourite of many who have passed. 

Dust, mud, sun and rain, 
is the Way of Saint James; 
thousands of pilgrims and more than a thousand years. 
Pilgrim, who calls you?
What dark force brings you here? 
It's not the Way of the Stars, nor the grand cathedrals. 
Neither is it the courage of Navarra, 
or the wine of the people of La Rioja. 
It's not the seafood of Galicia; 
it's not the countryside of Castilla. 
Pilgrim, who calls you? 
What mysterious force attracts you? 
It is not the people of the way or their rural customs. 
Nor is it their history and culture. 
It isn't the cockerel of la Calzada, 
Gaudi's palace, 
nor the castle in Ponferrada. 
Everything you see in passing is a joy; 
and the voice which calls me, 
makes me feel much deeper. 
The force which pulls me, attracts me, 
I cannot explain it. 
Only he above knows why.
I met John from Ireland and we walked and talked for a time. Then there was Coleen from near home and we had a nice chat about Alzheimer’s and about the Camino. I spoke briefly with Alex and he was resting during a second long stage.

Then I was in. A familiar place.

I found some lunch and I sit here writing in front of this wonderful view.

Annemarie wrote this while traveling to Madrid. Presently she is in the air on her way to Brussels.

Carrying on. - separately: Long before this day came, I thought that today’s entry would address our journeys taking different directions. We have been together on this journey really for almost a year, as we initially began planning, started making arrangements and setting up the various media sites, and thought to the conclusion of my walk. We parted ways very early this morning, now going in very different directions, having very different daily experiences. When a loved one is moved to a residential care facility, a person with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers also experience a divergence from what has, until that time, been a joint journey. When Geoff and I talked about this, he jokingly asked which of us is going to a care facility, and I responded that it’s open to interpretation. Regardless, both people are significantly impacted by the changes in their daily experiences, and each now needs to adjust to the new reality. For people with Alzheimer’s and their partners this is a much more intense, and longer lasting, experience than Geoff and I are having today.What mysterious force attracts yo


  1. Hi Geoff - from foggy, foggy Victoria!! Close to a "pea soup" fog at one time but eased off as the morning progressed. And on the golf course the question was "did anyone see where my ball went"?

    For you and Annemarie I gather it has been sort of a melancholy type day as you each embark on different journeys and different destinations. This will take a little adjustment although I suspect you will be in frequent touch with via your phones, I pads, blogs etc. Your pictures today surely demonstrated that cooler temperatures have arrived in your part of the world and the order of the day is a wooly type hat for starters! I liked the beautiful picture of Lake Grajera. Really demonstrates that Fall has definitely arrived. Nice that there are also a few grapes along the way to cheer up a lonely trekker. Comfort food in any language................

    All well at this end.


  2. A different feel in different ways, today.

    Memories come flooding back - that fence, that lake, that church... so much gold!! BC

  3. Hi Geoff,

    I finally got caught up. Your posts bring back so many memories of 2013. And they help me put some things into place. Like the black bull—okay, that was between Logroño and Nájera. And the lake was on the west side of Logroño, not in Pamplona. Stuff like that.

    I was happy to see you making friends with Spanish dogs, too. Nice to see that some of them are friendly, even if they’re also mooches. Pooches that mooch.

    Lovely to be walking on a clear, cold day. Did you bring the bottoms to your shorts? I hate the sound the nylon makes, that swishing, so I wait as long as I can before I zip them on. But this time in 2013, we were already in Santiago, or even past there. It’s going to get colder. . . . .

    Tonight we have a class on art and music therapy. You’d find that interesting, because it’s often used with people who have dementia, especially music therapy.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the blogs, as I always do, both text and pictures. ¡Ultreya! (I’ve never heard anyone actually say that, have you?)