We have arrived in St Jean! A challenging day. Light rAin and mud for the first 5 hours. A cafe break. Then the last hour was mostly dry and on paved roads. Beautiful views of the foothills. And we walked through the city gates like the old timers we are. Five years after our first Camino it was like coming home again. Tomorrow we take a train to Bayonne and slowly work our way north for our October 30 flight from Paris. Thank you all for walking with us ❤️Go Nats!!
Wednesday October 23: to Ostabat-Asme. This is the first town after the point that three caminos in France come together. Our guidebook says Ostabat once was able to accommodate 5000 pilgrims. Not any more. We were lucky today to get a room above the bar. Some people are walking on with no idea of where they will stay. Pleasant walk. We missed a two kilometer shortcut and instead climbed uphill more than 200 meters. The views were spectacular and worth the effort. One more day!
Tuesday October 22: to Argagnon on Sunday, to Navarrenx on Monday and to Aroue today. Finally we have WiFi. We have had some blustery and cold weather. Some hills to climb on Monday, some rain and mud to deal with today. But despite the overcast skies, we still get peeks at the Pyrenees. It is early afternoon but we are in our comfortable farmhouse gite out of the rain and before a fire in the wood stove. We have made plans to reach st Jean pied de port in just two more days!
Saturday October 19: 14 miles to Larreule. Sunny and hot today. AND we can see the Pyrenees now! They are still more than 100 kilometers away but we are excited to see our destination on the horizon!
Friday October 18
Faced with starting a 21-mile walk in the rain, we decided to take an available bus to Aire sur l’Adour. What would have taken all day on foot was accomplished in 20 minutes by 9:42 am. So we then walked 12 miles to Miramont-Semsacq. We cheated but it was such a morale boost to put so many miles behind us. We think we are just six or seven days from St. Jean.
Thursday October 17: on Monday we walked to Condom; on Tuesday to Montreal du Gers; on Wednesday to Eauze; and today to Nogaro. Sorry, we have had no or limited WiFi. Will try to update with more details tonight.
Monday: whipped around by the wind all day. Made it to Condom in time to see the church and beautiful stone carvings before the rain came. Our dinner, except for the optional chicken, was vegan. The delicious dark chocolate mousse was made with chickpeas instead of dairy and eggs. Tuesday: rain, wind and cold alternating with sun, wind cold. A dispiriting, low energy day. As planned, we stopped for the day at lunchtime in Montreal du Gers. We had a restaurant lunch instead of our usual picnic. Wednesday: a better walking day first through the vineyards of Gascogne for as far as the eye could see, then along a flat railbed. Thursday: rainy, muddy, slippery. Then along the busiest roads we have encountered on this Camino. But now we are content to be in a great gite.
Sunday October 13: 12 miles to Marsolan. Gentle hills, brown fields. Theg countryside is reminding us of Spain. So are the 85-90 temperatures and the lack of shade. But there has been a brisk breeze that keeps us cool. Had a fun celebration of Bill’s birthday tonight with the Canadians and four French guys. Bon nuit!
Saturday October 12: 14 miles to Casbtet-Arrouy. What an end to our day. We reached this little village about 3 pm along with our friends from British Columbia. We located our gite next to the church. Doors were wide open but no one was home. So we sat at some tables in front of the church, and Bill and Tony went to the bar across the road to order beers. The man said the bar was closed but he reluctantly poured four beers. Meanwhile we are wondering where we will have dinner if the only place in town is closed. And still no one at the gite. Finally we here a tractor stop and Albert comes to welcome us. He gets us settled, tells us he will drive us to a restaurant, and he goes back to work. So we take showers, wash and hang our clothes and relax around the pool. Albert comes back and invites to Musee d’Albert, which is an open-air area where he has sculpted all kinds of creatures out of wood, has collections of saws and bicycles and wooden chests and all kinds of odds and ends. Then he says he has to feed the horses. We are wondering when he is going to feed the people. Finally about 7, he comes back, hoses himself off and directs us to his car. He drives us back to a restaurant 5 kilometers back in the direction we had walked. He tells us to tell the restaurant staff to “call the mayor” when’s we are ready to be picked up. We have a delicious meal, call the mayor and he arrives in no time. For all our unease with the situation, it turned out to be a splendid experience.
Friday October 11: 16 miles to Mossaic on Thursday and 12 miles to Auvillar today. An exhausting hike to Mossaic. Instead of taking us directly on Rue de Moissac, the trail detoured through the woods to keep us safer. But the walk was frustrating in that it went repeatedly up and down hills. We were grateful when Monsieur Lemee at our gite offered to bring our dinner to our room so that we did not have to go down three flights to the dining room. Today’s walk was wonderful—along a flat sycamore-shaded canal towpath. And now we are waiting to meet some walkers from British Columbia for dinner.
Wednesday October 9: 14 miles to Lauzerte. Pleasant walking day through the woods, along bare post-harvest fields, through the woods again. Cool and overcast. Up the hill to this beautiful medieval town. Off to explore!