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 41: Calzadilla - Sahagun - Leon, 25 kms, Sun and Cloud, 10

A Strategic Decision 

I’m sitting in the bar at the train station in Sahagun where I’ve just enjoyed a nice tortilla y patata and a cold glass of Aquarius. Today I was away fairly early to walk to Sahagun in order to catch a train to Leon, about 45-50 kms. I’ve only taken one rest day on this Camino, the last one being two weeks ago with Annemarie in Jaca. I had been planning to take a day in Leon, but if I’d walked in my day off would have been this Sunday when everything is closed. With this little adjustment I will be there tomorrow and walk out Saturday morning. I wasn’t planning to re-walk the Roman Road so my walk would have been alongside a busy highway. Gronze calls it a very flat stage beside a very busy highway and rates the stage quality as very low. I will have one more day of Meseta walking when I leave Leon which will be a nice way to wind up this part of the Camino. I’ve been listening to my body and the past couple of days it’s been telling me to take a restorative day as it’s called in yoga. So I will and I’m really looking forward to it. Leon is a very nice city with lots to see and good restaurants. This will be my third visit there, so it’s become quite comfortable and familiar.

Dinner last night was hilarious. I sat with a Japanese peregrino who lives by Temple 1 on Shikoko where the 88 Temple walk begins. Same age as me. He walked the Henro last fall after I’d walked it in the spring, so there was lots to discuss and it gave me an opportunity to use my sparse, rusty Japanese.

It’s his first time out of Japan and he speaks no other language. I ordered his meal for him having a very good idea what he would prefer to eat. He seemed pleased and proceeded to drink most of our bottle of wine! As he did so he told me that he’s carrying a tent because that’s not unusual in Japan. However, it is unusual on the Frances and it’s heavy and too cold to use it. We enjoyed a very lively evening using our phone app translators. We discussed Alzheimer’s and he acknowledged it’s a problem in his country. An aging population there is of course creating many problems. 

I also want to relate that the night before I had dinner with a peregrino from Lithuania who is working in Dublin doing construction projects. He was a younger guy and very funny. We seemed to be laughing all the way through the meal, but maybe that was just the wine? He told me that there is no Alzheimer’s in his family, one of the few I’ve met who doesn’t have some family connection with the disease. The family who owns the small rural hotel fed us a half chicken each plus a beautiful salad. It was a nice evening, and the next morning I was served a wonderful breakfast of ham and eggs! Wow! The mother prepared it for me and thanked me for staying there. Most peregrinos stop before at Formista. I’m finding the smaller centres are putting me a pin a very small window where there are few peregrinos, but as you’ll see that changed today.

I awoke to clearing skies and happily saw the sunrise.

A simple breakfast of toast and tea and I was on my way at a good pace to make sure I arrived here in time for the train. 

More highway walking much of the day which confirmed my decision to jump to Leon. However, the blue skies helped to mitigate the road. The mountains were closer and clearer today, and again I wondered how much snow I’m going to find up high just days ahead. I’ve read that the Napoleon route behind me has quite a bit of snow and has been closed to pilgrims until April for safety reasons. 

Just before Ledigos I found the huge arrow made of stones that I photographed last time through and a photo of it hangs on our wall at home. I prefer the first photo I took over this one.

Getting closer.

Remember our stay here Annemarie? It’s locked down for the winter as are many of the albergues from today onwards. There will be fewer places open going forward towards Santiago.

And another boot bites the dust!

I passed a reminder that many people die while walking the Camino each year. I’ve seen a number of these on my way across. I think that there have been at least 7 deaths for various reasons this season alone. Peregrinos who for whatever reason do not complete their expected journey. There are obvious parallels to Alzheimer’s.

I see quite @ few of these straw based houses, but thi# one caught m6 arrention with the blue shutters and door!

Ok, I’m now in Leon. Climbed on board, found my seat and fell asleep. Woke as the train was coming into the station. 
Back to the walk...I met an Italian fellow today who had seen Alex from Ottawa approaching Burgos and he was quite exhausted, but otherwise ok. Taking a couple of days off in Burgos so it’s unlikely our patches will cross again. The Italian fellow kindly took my photo at the next boundary. I have a photo of Annemarie, Ken and Marianne here.

I caught up to over 30 peregrinos today. By far the most I’ve seen on any single day. I think the longer distances I’ve recently put in has resulted in my basically jumping a traditional stage and finding the next lot. Sometimes peregrinos kind of stack up together making everything a bit busier. When I depart Leon they should arrive later that day and most like me, will take a day here. This particular bubble should hopefully stay behind me. 

That’s Sahagun in the background of the above photo. Just before entering town we passed the halfway distance markers from Roncevalles. So those who began the Frances are half way to Santiago. Those are three French walker who I’ve learned often like to carry huge packs as if they are going to Everest! 

I on the other hand am about 80% of the way there with just 320 kms to walk. A nice feeling, and I’m looking forward to the climbs ahead. I find all the flat walking wears on me after a while and the change-up in a couple of days might feel good. I should have one full day of the Meseta left to cross. I plan to look ahead a bit and see how things might break out keeping in mind that I have to be out of the Schengen Zone in a couple of weeks. 

The inside of my somewhat upscale hotel. Annemarie told me to stay in the Paradore, but it’s closed for renovations.this is more central and closer to restaurants, the cathedral and several museums. 

Annemarie climbed onto her plane home this morning. So I’m a little more alone tonight. We will reconnect in a couple of weeks unless she’s away on a contract when I return which means perhaps we will see each other in 3-4 weeks. Such is life. She sent this and one other to me to share.

Sudden changes: Geoff has written about the sudden temperature change he has experienced; it was sudden and dramatic, requiring some significant adjustments to his wardrobe, accommodation arrangements, and route choices. Sometimes the Alzheimer’s journey takes a sudden turn as well. Whether it’s expecting or not (the change in weather was predicted) it’s still a bit of a shock when it happens, and requires more adjustments than might have initially been anticipated. For someone with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers a sudden change may be the result of a significant illness or a trigger that speeds the progression. The impact can include an end to activities they may have previously enjoyed, or an increase in the support services required. However they happen, these types of changes take an emotional toll.

For Ken.

Buen Camino!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy Leon, Geoff. We know you have some good memories of this city. Buen camino.