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 31, 2018

Étape 40: Poblacion - Calzadilla de la Cueza, 34 kms, Grey Unsettled Skies, 8

Meseta Magic

After all it is Halloween, and I found these kids in the first village I passed through. I’m not sure if they really understand the whole idea, but they were dressed appropriately.

I have to say that the first 17 kms didn’t seem too magical today as I walked for 17 kms along side the highway passing a couple of old tired villages in the process.

This definitely didn’t give me magical thoughts, but I saw a sign later in the day that said 455 kms, and I felt a little better. It’s actually under 400 kms from where I’m sleeping tonight.

I saw only one other walker on route today as I was heading towards Carrión and he was moving very slowly. At Carrion I kept a promise to myself and stopped for an early lunch. 

I’ve pushed my pace the last few stages and decided to give myself an easier time today. Yesterday it was the threat of rain that kept me moving along, and today there seemed less risk most of the time.

Town square.

Last time we were here most of the town was closed as it was Sunday. Today, everything was open.

I was soon heading out of town.

And down another long road for the second 17 km stretch, but this time I was playing some old soulful Zeppelin and other favourites to keep me going. Thank god for 🎵!

As I think I was saying a couple of days ago, there is some real divergence of opinion as to whether one should walk or skip the Meseta. Many think the high plateau is very boring while others find the simpler walking provides time for deeper reflection. I’m in the second camp, but this morning I couldn’t wait to get away from the road and the traffic. When I slowed myself down after lunch...

...I found the other side of the Meseta. 

Long flat nothingness 
Lonesome trees dot the skyline 
Times of soulful thoughts

Distant horizons 
Magic of the Meseta 
Clouds touching the earth

Mountains to the north
Snow covers peaks already
What waits up the road?

And for AB,

Feet kissing the Earth
As I grind down lonely roads,
I’m thinking of you

Annemarie has taken pity on me given my longer days and sent me a couple of Alzheimer entries to post before flying home tomorrow. 

Decision making: since he’s been walking on his own, Geoff has had to make a number of decisions that we would make together when walking; places to stay, route changes or adjustments to his overall plan. These decisions sometimes impact me, but not always, and it is his practice to check in with me. For people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers the decision making process that was in place before diagnosis shifts over time. In the early stages, it is important to involve the person with Alzheimer’s as much as possible, but as the disease progresses, this becomes less feasible, and the caregiver is increasingly required to make decisions that impact the other person. This increased responsibility can become uncomfortable, especially if they didn’t have the opportunity to discuss possible scenarios in advance in the early stages of the disease.

Almost lastly, when I arrived today I ordered a beer to take to my room where I sit writing this. I can hear Bruce having a good laugh. No buzz!! I guess this was the ‘trick’.

And lastly, our daughter Caitlin was baking treats to take to the children at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver today. She has a very big heart!

And now I’m going down to the bar to find my ‘treat’!

Buen Halloween!


  1. Hi Geoff ....A longish, flatish, coolish day today and when compared to previous very interesting country side I would be inclined to believe that it was more of a melancholy day!! On the other hand you trekked a long 34 KMS, a very worthy accomplishment and as you are a day closer to your destination you might consider it a winner!! I hope you enjoyed your special treat at dinner and that you had a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in and a sound sleep to go with it. And maybe there will be a sunrise to greet you in the morning - one can always hope anyway.