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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Friday, November 9, 2018

Étape 48: Triacastela - Portomarin, 43 kms, Cloud, Brisk Winds, Rain, 5

Stuff Happens

I’m sitting here, where I wasn’t supposed to be sitting, at the end of a long day sipping on my favourite Spanish beer. I guess it all worked out ok in the end. My gear is hung to dry, I’m in my best and cleanest dirty clothes, and I’m showered. Could be worse. 

I was up early this morning knowing that I had a long stretch of road ahead of me. I wanted to get past Sarria where so many start their Camino and walk the shortest distance possible to qualify for their compostela. No problem with that, but I’d planned to finish later in the first stage typically walked by this group. It can be a bit tough to mingle with folks who are on their first stage late in your own walk, and I wanted a bit of space from this. In any event, in 2013 Annemarie, Ken and I walked to Sarria via Samos where there is a cool monastery. This time I wanted to try the other route via San Xil. It’s a bit shorter, but what I wasn’t aware of until late last night is that there is a 250 metre climb to kick start the day. It wasn’t a problem, but I’d hoped to stay a bit drier for a while instead of getting all sweaty in the cool of the morning. Since when does the Camino provide you with what you need? I was walking in the late morning dark with just a touch of light behind me in the mountains. It was really quite nice. As I climbed the roosters on the farms started to crow. I caught up to a bunch of chicks and just as I was taking the shot, mom chased them out of harms way. I have a focused shot too, but I really like the low light action in this one.

At the top of the climb I looked back and the sun was making a brief appearance.

It popped in and out for a while. Things were looking surprisingly good to the west and I hoped it would hold as I understand there is a major storm on its way.

I connected with a herd and had to take some photos. Look at the horns and catch the lady who is very close to giving birth. She’s huge!

Then there were the horses who wanted their noses scratched. Yup, we provide most services on Camino!

Then a gate shot for Neil with some quite dry and wind shaken corn stocks.

Sarria came into view, but it’s still some two hours away. I always find it interesting just how long it takes to walk into a village or city when you first see it from a distance.

I did eventually arrive in Sarria and passed through quickly. The morning peregrino departures had mostly happened and I was to come across quite a few as the day progressed. Some really hurting on their first day out. This is looking back at Camino Road (not its real name) where you pretty much only find businesses that cater to the tens of thousands who pass through here or start from here each year.

Looking back towards the mountains and to the south as I proceeded there was clearly rain around and I seemed to be walking in a bit of a bubble as I ambled down the typically beautiful Galician countryside. It really is beautiful here.

There is a solid climb out of Sarria just to let those new to the Camino know that they aren’t going to be pampered too much.

The wind came up sharply as I moved along and I wondered how long I was going to avoid the rain. 

I remembered this place from last time and decided to take a self portrait here.

The beautiful setting just continued to unfold. You wouldn’t even need to paint a gate like this. I’m thinking of getting us one.

I finally found a place to get lunch about 33 kms into the day. I went inside to find it full of the Sarria stage walkers. I’d caught up to many of them and central in the group was my Venezuelan friend who took a bus from Triacastela and walked from Sarria today. She has a limited time and hopes that she can still get her compostela even if she doesn’t walk all of the last 100 kms. Not sure if this is possible, but I guess she can try. Lunch plus two tins of Aquarius plus two Kit Kat bars for later, $12. 

Then I arrived at the 100 km waypoint. Amazingly 1400 behind me and just 100 (now 94) left. Happy day!! 

It had been raining steadily since lunch and the wind had picked up making for nice fall walking. Yup, my favourite.

I’d booked an albergue on line and when I arrived I found it closed for the season. I tried phoning them twice, but no answer. It’s a pretty remote albergue and I figured that the best thing I could do was to walk on the six kilometres to Portomarin and find lodgings when I arrived. Sometimes stuff happens and all you can do is shrug and move on. By now it was pouring...of course. I reached the bridges to Portomarin and while the river was high, the reservoir was clearly empty. Great view of the newer bridge and the ancient Roman bridge. The whole Roman and medieval settlement was moved before the valley was damed and flooded.

The first time I arrived expecting the reservoir to be full just like it was on my map. But it was all gone as it is in the above photo. I had to walk down the middle of the bridge because of the height. This time? Only I was there to tell the tale! 

The old settlements.

“Nobody Walks Alone”: In following Geoff’s journey since I left two weeks ago, it’s clear that it is more difficult to walk alone than to walk with a partner. While Geoff has always enjoyed walking on his own, there are extra challenges in doing so. It’s easier to miss a turn, there are more risks should an injury occur, and of course there are the challenges of loneliness and isolation. He has, of course, been communicating with friends and family and has met people along the way, and these encounters have often been uplifting. The B.C. Alzheimer’s Society’s new mission statement “Nobody Walks Alone”, recognizes that dementia is a difficult journey, and walking it alone, without a support, is especially difficult. Information, education, support groups, research and outreach can all make a big difference. 

Buen Camino....

1 comment:

  1. Well done Geoff. Mom and I are very impressed with your walk today - and every day I might add - but today took a lot of adjustment as you went along. We also liked the many good pictures of the beautiful countryside. Pictures of the old Roman bridge versus the new bridge are surely an eye catcher and I couldn't help wondering which structure might still be standing at a future undetermined date?? Good question ........

    Its nice to see the finish line in Santiago coming closer each day. And it won't be long until you can change into something upscale from your "best and cleanest dirty clothes". Well done. Sleep well - you have certainly earned it.