Arblade-le-Haut - Lanne-Soubiran - Manet - Barcellone-du-Gers - Aire-sur-l'Adour
It had to happen eventually - but it did take 22 days - so no complaints. More typical April weather arrived today. The light rain that began yesterday afternoon continued overnight. When we set out this morning, just a drizzle but not too cold. Pas de probleme. The distance today was not too far and on a relatively flat path. Just as well.
The first 10 kms went by quickly and the cool weather made for an easy walk, mostly with Dominique but also Delphine and others who were at the same gite last night. There have been more pilgrims on the path over the past week, but still not many - and almost all French. I'm lucky to be walking with one of the few who speaks and understands English well and is patient and encouraging with my Franglais. Even I am noticing some improvement.
Back to today. The last 13 or so kms were a different story. Cold wind and rain. It reminded me of the first week Jill and I had in Spain last year. En Espana, the cold rain started on our first day, and that was all we knew for the first week - unless you count snow - so we were ecstatic when Super Sunday arrived and the sun stayed with us for the next two weeks. But on Chemin Le Puy until today, just a little rain, mild temperatures and lots of sunshine. The change was a bit of a shock when it came.
Our lunch stop was short and timed to coincide with a brief reprieve from the rain. My bottom half was drenched and I was cold, so the less time spent sitting or standing around the better for me. Despite the conditions, it's likely the fastest 13 kms I've walked in the past three weeks. I didn't complain - at least not out loud - but I was looking forward to reaching our destination.
As usual, the Camino provides. We arrived at the Hospitalet Saint-Jacques - recommended by Christian last night - and it was obvious that we were in a special place. Pilgrims Andre and Odile are our hosts and the atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing but will all facilities a pilgrim needs - including a dryer. Yeah. Dominique and I were the first pilgrims to arrive today (shortly after 1.30) and were welcomed by Andre with a glass of hot tea - anise and camomile. The view to the garden is delightful and classical music is playing softly in the background. Jill, I know you can guess where it reminds me of - Refugio de Acacio y Orietta in Viloria de la Rioja. Just lovely.
Thanks to the rain and wind today, the camera didn't come out for most of the afternoon. So the photos tonight are from dinner last night (sorry for poor quality but you get the idea), from the first two hours of today before the heavens opened - and finally, walking in to Aire-sue and our lovely gite.
I've also included a few photos which show that The Way is often just a narrow path, through an open field or through private farming land or vineyards.
Lovely to receive your messages, emails and comments - Jill, Mandi, Marian, Joan, Ange and Sive. A sunny way to start what turned out to be a cold and wet day. Thank you, mes amies.
Big day tomorrow - about 34 kms. I know I mentioned that I would be easing off but that's in a few days time. Sometimes on the Camino - and it was the same in Spain - there are few choices. And sometimes, there are none. There is no accommodation between here and Arzacq-Arraziguet, so that has to be the destination for tomorrow. I went to the supermarket in the town this afternoon so I have snacks. And Odile is making a picnic lunch including le pain and pate - home made, naturallement.