Arthez-de-Bearn to Navarrenx

Day Thirty Eight. 18.7 Miles, 30.1 Kilometers.

Written on May 27, 2012.

We stayed at a Chambre d’hôtes, (bed and breakfast), 2 kilometers from Arthez-de-Bearn. Irene and Edward have created a wonderful atmosphere for Pilgrims. The food is nutritious and the room is restful. They both were up at 6:30 a.m. Our breakfast was ready and we left before 7:30 a.m.

Pictured: A cow peeking at me.

Today I saw a young boy driving a tractor while his father was in the bucket throwing tires on a large piece of plastic. The boy seemed like a great driver.

Pictured: Boy in tractor.

We stopped at the church in La Sauvelade today on our way through. Just as I was ready to leave two young men walked in and started singing a song in French. It was wonderful and I stayed until they sang the last note.

Pictured: A statue of St. James with many notes, prayers, and blessings.

 

Rest Day in Conques

Day 15.

Written on May 4, 2012

Pictured: A view of the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy and the Village of Conques

Pictured: Tympanum of the Last Judgement scene on the main doorway of the Abbey.

Pictured: Another view of Conques.

Thank you to our Host and Hostess at Camping Beau Rivage, Conques, France

For two nights in Conques we have stayed in a mobile home in a campground. It has been relaxing and serene. The food has been great! Many pilgrims had suggested that we stay in Conques for two nights in order to explore this World Heritage Center. It is a wonderful village, a historical monument that is worth the stay.

 

Senergues to Conques

Day Fourteen. 5.7 Miles. 9 Kilometers. To date: 126.8 Miles, 203 Kilometers.

Written on May 3, 2012

Pictured: Flower pot figures on the way to Conques.

We are grateful for a short day. The Gite, Domaine de Senos, in Senergues was wonderful. We were in a two room “dorm” with our friend, Michel, in his own room and Vern and I in the other. There was a bunkbed in our room but no one else arrived. The food was wonderful. This Gite has everything to renew and refresh a Pilgrim that anyone could ask for. Michel, Francois, Roland, Vern, and I left about the same time and would walk for awhile and then see each other when breaks were needed. The mud was minimal today and the walk was pleasant. I am resting more. It is apparent that we will need to start earlier in the mornings. Breakfast is offered at most Gites…serving time usually is at 7 a.m. It is better for us to start earlier. To walk in the cooler weather and to arrive in a village or town while there is plenty of time to rest, shower, and launder before dinner helps us have more energy for a full day of walking.

Pictured: Stained glass window with three scallop shells at Church of Saint-Marcel.

One of the breaks today was in Saint-Marcel, a small village with a church, table, bench, and friendly dog named Yes.

After Saint-Marcel the Camino went downhill for approximately 2.5 miles. We carefully made our way down steep rocky creekbeds with a web of roots. At one point I slipped on a rock and did not have my stick far enough out to catch myself. The added weight of the bag put me off balance and I fell back onto my backpack. I briefly felt like a turtle that landed on my back. I quickly unfastened my pack so I could start to get up. The rocky path was extremely narrow and I knew that I was in the way. Just about the time that I got myself and my bag to one side a young man came running by at top speed. He seemed to be flying over the rocks. I was going in slow motion and fell. Vern saw me laying in the rocks and came back to help me. A few minutes later we saw Roland and Francois. They noticed that my right elbow was scraped and they applied ointment and a bandaid. Then on to awesome Conques. We are looking forward to exploring this incredible place.

 

Saint-Come d’Olt to Estaing

Day Eleven. 10.5 miles. 17k.

Written April 30, 2012

Pictured: Francois with his hat.

As soon as we left where we stayed last night we saw Francois and Roland. Several days ago when staying at the Ferme Gite in Sauges Vern happened to ask the pilgrim next to him if he lost a hat. Francois didn’t understand him but his eyes lit up when he saw his hat. As soon as I saw Francois wearing his hat today I had to take a picture. The four of us walked to the plaza and then started looking for any sign of the Camino. We saw the way markings for the local walk and started down the path. A woman who was walking her dog stopped to let us know that we were not on the Camino. I am sure that she knew we were pilgrims because of the size of our backpacks. Any one on a local walk would have a daypack and not a 50+liter backpack.

Pictured: A man in Espalion showing me the Mississippi license plate on his scooter (hard to see in photo).

As we entered Espalion we once again were not seeing the Camino markers. There were a group of men gathered in front of a cafe. I told them in French that I only understand a little French and that I am an American. A man in a motorized scooter quickly turned his scooter around to show me a license plate that is from Mississippi. I walked away and then returned to ask him if it would be ok to take a picture.

Pictured: Eglise de Saint-Pierre-de-Bessuejouls

This church had a winding concrete staircase to a praying area above. It is an 11th century chapel.

Just beyond the church was a steep path that went up for what seemed to be at least an hour. It was a good workout. I had a great sense of accomplishment when I was at the top. We took a break with two couples from New Zealand.