We’re taking the train from Toronto Union Station to Montreal then flying to Toulouse directly with Air Transat. All relatively painless we hope after saying goodbye to Meg, Nick and Finn. We’ve had 2 lovely weeks with them at The Beaches in Toronto.
Oversized model in arrivals hall at Toulouse airport Sunday morning. The sculpture is called Jurrassic Pork – not sure we’re getting the right meaning though. It’s a bit of a mystery!
Toulouse train station. An upright piano is provided for anyone to play while awaiting a train. This young group were having a whale of a time playing classical and popular pieces and the waiting customers were delighted witb the entertainment.
A religious statue in front of an out of use convent. Many such places are now found in rural France – they survivedcthe reformation and then the revolution but lost their relevance when the people in their droves were attracted to the god of Mamon in the 19 & 20th century.
Morning dressings completed! Prevention is better than cure! An old womans approach to cover pressure points with Micropore tape has worked. The tape falls off in the afternoon shower and the feet dry out till morning when the daily ritual begins again. Result = not 1 blister! It’s not about the boots at all!
There is a story in La Romeiu that during the time of the plague the town’s population was saved by a cat. The cat killed the rats and stopped the disease spreading. Since then the town people have had a special place for cats with many sculptures of them seen in public and private spaces.
The grounds of the chapel at St. Germaine are used for summer concerts and festes – this advertisement is for a concert and dinner on Sunday July 6th. We will miss it by a day!
In Condom we stayed at this former Carmel convent. The few remaining aged nuns were unable to maintain the buildings and grounds so moved on. It is now a Gite as well as social housing for recovering substance abusers who work at the Gite. It was a great night sans any vin – something we have not experienced yet in France.
The outdoor areas of the Gite were very inviting.
Four Muskateers with Peter and I and a fellow French pilgrim at Condom. We’d met at Miradioux days earlier. Her shoes had broken down and she had walked barefoot to Condom the first town along The Way where she was able to replace them.
The gite at the bastide town of Monreal run by Anita. It was here the next day that Sandy’s boots mysteriously disappeared. Fortunately we found the walker who put them on inadvertently before they left the gite.
Peter and our French family and friends group enjoying the well formed route here.
Hydrangeas flower well here in July.
We’ve walked along several former railway lines and past many former railway stations that the railways (SNCF) have sold off. This is now a small hobby farm – the rail lines are long gone.
Each day we see acres and acres of sunflowers as well as established vines. There are many fields with new plantings so we assume that French markets for wine must be growing.
In Eauze we experienced the annual feste with its ‘show like’ side-show alley and childrens rides. The locals were disappointed with the turnout – this could relate to the poor weather or the World Cup being played at the same time.
Two wonderful French pilgrims we had the pleasure of meeting along The Way. Both sang in choirs in their home city of Lille and sang in beautiful harmony. Today we said goodbye to each other and their parting gift was to sing a farewell hymn in English sung in 2 parts that they’d learnt from a visiting American choir master. It was heavenly standing on the GR65 – the Camino, and listening to them sing their goodbyes to us. Just a magical experience! They set off from Eauze this afternoon by bus to Agen then train to Montauban then an overnight train to Paris and onto home to Lille by train tomorrow. Such happy and contented people they were.
It was a wet and humid walk out of Eauze along the route to Nogaro.
The ducks didn’t seem to mind the rain. Plump and inexpensive duck meat is the wonderful by product of the Foie Gras industry. These ducks have not yet undergone the fattening process and probably don’t know they will be for the table soon.
The same farmer provides cafe and tea and cake at his picnic table for passing pilgrims and passers by for a mere donation.
Approaching Manciet where we expected to buy a baguette for lunch. Unfortunately they were sold out so we had to settle for plastic sliced bread – a poor substitute even with some wonderful jamon on it.
The old bull fighting ring at Manciet – this was the first of these rings seen along The Way as we approach the Basque country of France and Spain.
The building style here is reminiscent of Tudor Britain.
A 16th century map showing the numerous medieval Camino routes pilgrim took to Santiago de Compostela.
This is the rural equine gite we stayed in enjoying the company of the French group who befriended us at Monreal.
As it was cool inside the farmhouse gite Peter lit a roaring fire. Everyone then came into the living area to get warm – others from the gite, chambre d’hote as well as all the campers! It was very cosy with everyone there with boots and shoes and clothes drying in front of the fire.
Another roadside cross complete with pilgrims pebbles placed in front. The pebbles symbolise the ‘letting go’ of the pilgrims concerns as they walk along ‘The Way’.
This Meridian line location is aligned due south with the zero degree marker at Greenwich, London, UK. There was an argument between the British and French government as to where the zero line of longitude should fall. Britain won thanks to Lord Nelson’s unforgettable win at sea.
Directions from Nogaro to other points of interest in the south west of France.
Nogaro’s bull fighting ring being prepared and painted for this weeks bull fight.
Today the rain rarely stopped and the track deteriorated significantly into a muddy mess – thanks also to the previous passage of a tractor and a horse!
A very French scene. A 2CV was France’s peoples car- the equivalent to the VW Beetle and Britain’s Morris Mimor. It was a car for the masses which ultimately led in part to the demise of the railway network in Europe.
Our gite tonight is in a rural area – a long wet walk from any town. However we were expected and enjoyed the evening with 6 fellow walking friends who gather each year on the Camimo for a 1 week walk.
The Miramont parish priest and a visiting pilgrim, a Parisian priest, conducted evening mass. After church the parish priest invited all the pilgrims back to his place for a drink of local wine and Flok – a sort of Armagnac type drink. Very nice but very alcoholic!
The 11th century church at Pimbo. Unfortunately as with so many in small towns in rural France it’s in need of much repair and more funds than the few remaining local parishioners can raise. Ultimately it will be another ruin!
A new house built unusually with timber with a spectacular outlook down the valley beyond.
Ski’s and snowboards were used for this unusual gate.
This VW campervan seen at the ‘alternative’ Feste has had a very hard life. The party was still going strong as we walked past their van along the river the morning after the event – the younger set were still dancing and drinking!
A welcome buvette set up for weary pilgrim travellers. A local erected this tent in their front garden and provided hot and cold drinks and a sheltered spot for us to sit for a while.
A Mark 2 Jaguar in a farmers shed just waiting for someone with plenty of money to restore it.
Here’s some virtual chooks for those that don’t want to bother with real poultry.
More old fashioned varieties of blue flowering hydrangeas.
Another roadside chapel in the Basque region close to the Spanish border near Arccuz. Sandy fell backwards over some uneven surfaces inside this church but fortunately didn’t hurt a ything more than her pride!
This is our English chambre d’hote hosts pet pig.
This was our English host who had come grom Cornwall and had been running the B&B here for 9 years.
Memories of the TV show the ‘Good Life’ ? Our hosts certainly knew about that story.
This was the sign to the chambre d’hote we stayed at last night. The owner, a Brit, was prepared to do almost any work going as this sign attests.
There are plenty of horses and ponies here in the south eastern part of France.
Our dinner at the gite at Navarrenx.
The scenery is becoming stunning the further south in France we go. Here locals and walkers alike enjoy being around the water.
We visited Jack in Trie-sur-Baise. He cooked a very large sausage on the mill’s wood BBQ, that comes complete with bellows, to keep it burning well.
Peter firing up the BBQ at Jacks rebuilt mill.
Here’s a ‘good luck’ rainbow seen in Trie recently.
Jack and Robbie enjoying a tipple one afternoon at a Trie bar.
A quiet drink on Saturday afternoon in summer in Trie! Beats winter in Canberra!
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