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 30, 2018

Étape 39: Castrojeriz - Poblacion de Campos, 30 kms, cool, a little rain, grey, 0-5

Back To The Beginning

I woke to the sound of rain in the street. Not really what I was looking for, but early morning rain had been forecast. I took my time getting ready and walked down the street for breakfast hoping the rain would abate and by the time I headed out of town it was pretty much a drizzle. Of course the first thing on the agenda when leaving Castrojeriz is a lung busting climb! However, it wasn’t so bad and the view from the top was still pretty nice, though I enjoyed a much sunnier view 5 years ago.

A little reminder of the climb, and as you can see it’s the complete opposite from yesterday.

A sort hike across he top of the mesa and I found what I’d come to see today.

Yup a road sign with a very steep down hill! However, there’s more to the story. It was while walking down this hill alone (Annemarie was injured and hitched a ride with the baggage truck) that I made my decision to retire. The purpose of my first Camino. 

I figured by waiting today for the rain to die down that there would be others out ahead of me. I guess they all made the same decision. How sid I figure that out?

Mine were the only foot prints in the clay gumbo mud! For the uninitiated this is really nasty stuff to walk through. Fortunately it lasted for only a while until better footing was found, but my boots bear the scars. 

I was looking forward to visiting the Puente Fiteeo (/building on the left) again, but sadly it was closed. However I did get to cross the 11 arched bridge which was also a good memory as by chance I spoke with Annemarie briefly as she crossed in the truck. 

There you go a Neil!

The Provincial boundary marker has been spruced up with a better home as well. 

After Itero there was a long slow climb that I remembered well.

Once over the hill things didn’t look quite as nice with lots of moisture in the air and the clouds seemed to skim by over my head just out of reach.

More rain was definite a possibility, but generally it was just an Irish mist with a bit of rain. I kept my poncho away and my gortex again worked out quite well. A reminder that fall is well underway in Spain!

And then I arrived at the Canal de Castilla and I knew that I had about 3 kms to walk before lunch. 

It’s a bit like walking in Holland along the canal. I thought that the first time, and had no reason to change my mind this time.

Then at the end of the canal.

And it was in to Fromista for lunch where I also had a quick second look at the 11th C Iglesia de San Martin, one of the best Romanesque churches in Spain.

From there on to Poblacion where I’m in a small hotel up top in a loft room. The rain is steadily bouncing off the skylight so I’ll know if it’s raining tomorrow before I even get up! In France some weeks ago walking in the heat and the sun I said to Annemarie that I would think fondly of those days as I slogged through the wet and cold that I knew was waiting in Spain. I was right! 

Buen Camino!



  1. Great photos, Geoff. Five years ago this stage proved to be significant in your life journey... and to think of what that decision has precipitated(!) in the ensuing years... I hope you can stay relatively dry and mud free in the days ahead. Buen camino!

  2. Hi Geoff,

    I find it amazing that you remember so much about 2013. Despite writing about the experience and taking lots of photos, my memories are fragmentary. Of course I remember San Martin, and the horrible municipal albergue in Frómista, and the walk along the canal, splashing through mud like a little kid. But the location of the Palencia sign? I’d forgotten all about that sign. And the word Palencia.

    Too bad about the rain, and the gumbo, but as you say, that’s fall in Spain.

    Great photos again.

    I have a long day ahead, and yesterday was another prize-winner, but ultreya, I guess.

    Enjoy today’s walk!