Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thinking in French

Larressingle - Eauze 28km
Hotel Trina, Eauze
Another rest day for me while Gord, "made up some good distance," san moi. We are starting to think in French now. I was doing my stretches and realized I was counting in French.

It is really an excellent opportunity to learn and practice the language. It has been fun talking to the other pelicans (pelerines), and they have all been very encouraging and complementary about our French.
Dinner tonight came with a generous amount of wine which I enjoyed to excess, leaving Gord with an exuberant debauched wife in the room - scary.

Condoms and Keeps

August 30, 2010
La Romeiu - Larressingle 21km
La Ferme du Tollet, Larressingle
Today Gord walked and I was luggage again, but as cheap as a backpack!  Gord had a beautiful walk through the French countryside through fields of ripening sunflowers, millet and corn.  He fed himself liberally with plums and figs; apples, pears and grapes should follow soon.  Let's hope he is not shot by a farmer.  It is hunting season here and we are hoping none of them have permits for hunting "les mauvais pelerin Anglais."  (Don't worry mom, I am very safe-they are not interested in baggage.)
Larressingle is one of the smallest and most intact walled towns in France.  It was the fortress of the Bishops of Condom.  The French, unable to beat the rep caused by name of the town of Condom,  have set up a musee des preseratifs there.
La Ferme du Tollet is probably our best gite yet.  Our evening meal was outstanding; perhaps the best chicken dish I have ever eaten.  Our hosts were wonderful.  As well as providing us with fabulous food they encouraged/insisted that we liberally sample their Armagnac, wine and other liquids.  They also promised that we would sleep well and not have a headache in the morning, which turned out to be the case.BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Sunday, August 29, 2010

La cite des Chats - La Romieu

Lectoure-La Romieu 19km Total:64km/490km

Unfortunately my back is causing me trouble again and I need to rest again. Today I took a taxi and arrived in La Romieu at 8:30 in the morning.  Gord is walking the route and we will meet up for lunch. At this point I have no idea whether or not I will be able to walk in a few days, but we have lots of options. The worst case scenario is not bad at all.  We are still in France.  I still love cheese and wine (oh yes and Gord too).  We could even enroll in a French course for a bit.  It's funny, before we left I was really freaked out that my back might be bad, and now that it is I am much more relaxed about accepting whatever comes my way.  Well at least at this particular moment, sitting in a cafe looking at a church with a UNESCO heritage designation,  I am living in the moment.

La Romieu has a wonderful history concerning cats.  During the Middle Ages when the plague hit there was a huge famine.  Eventually the town survived by eating the local pussy cats.  A little girl in the town had two cats that she did not want made into "le cassolet de chat," so she kept them hidden away.  Once all the cats in the rest of the village had been consumed the town was completely overrun by rats. Fortunately the little girl's cats had a litter and these cats rid the town of all the rats.  In gratitude the town has celebrated cats ever since. Now it is one of their tourism claims and people have put stone cats all over the town.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blogging Hell

Blogging is not as easy as it looks. First I am typing on an iPod and then if the wifi is not strong it deletes everything! I rewrote the last one six times and each time it was shorter and less interesting. I should let my sister write my blog. Her e-mails are way better. Here is just a sample:
"Hi everyone. The ever so helpful email I sent with Ruth's number is wrong. This is the number that works**********.
The other number I gave you reaches a couple who are on an anti-pilgrimage. These walking routes are becoming ever more popular in North America.  They take you through areas with as few churches, areas of historical significance, or beauty as possible. They, also, are having a wonderful time.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Our Bedroom Window in Lectoure

Miradoux-Lectoure 15.5km. Total:55km

My friend Maude was teasing me and suggesting that with all this time to write blogs I wasn't walking very much. She is on to me. Even though we are starting very slowly my shins and hips have been begging for a break.
Lectoure is a wonderful place for an extra night. It's a fortified medieval town with roots stretching back before the arrival of the Romans.
Our chambre d'hotes, the Halte Pelerine is fantastic. Our host, Veronique, is lovely and the house is built right into the town wall with views out over the valley below.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beating the Heat

Auvillar -Miradoux 17km. Total:39
Accueil pelerin La Pause Verte, Miradoux

We woke up at five and because the forecast was predicting a scary 37 degrees we departed before dawn.  We had to stay on the road for the first four kilometres walking by moonlight until the sun peeked up. It was wonderful and cool.

We arrived in Miradoux at eleven am just as the heat was starting to build up. By twelve the thermometer at the pharmacy was reporting 37 and now it is claiming to be 44!

Therese, our host, is a treasure! Accueils are not gites,but instead are places were people welcome pilgrims into their homes and you just pay what you can. She is certainly welcoming and she
even used her public health nursing experience to minister to several angry bites that Gord was reacting to. Everyone, except Gord believes they were caused by bed bugs. Gord wants to believe they were caused by a fairy resembling a young Natasha Kinsky in tights. It is a shame he is so allergic to Natasha.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Malause-Auvillar. 9km.
Gite communal
Today was a shorter day - just 9 km up to the beautiful hilltop town of Auvillar. I am still trying to break my back in slowly. We are staying at the Gite Communal, which is as nice as any five star hotel. Our room has a view of the surrounding valley including the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant - ah, even France is not perfect.

There is a fine circular medieval market hall set in a triangular arcaded square. The town is on the list of the most beautiful towns in France, and I would have to agree.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And finally we are off

Moissac to Malause 13km
Gite le Grenier du Levant

This morning we caught a train from Toulouse to Moissac, where we ended our camino last year. The route was the tow path for the Midi Canal which has been converted to a bicycle route between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It was a lovely cool day, so although we enjoyed the shade trees all the way along, we were not as desperate for them as we might have been if the sun was out.
Our gite,  le Grenier du Levant, has been a real treat. Gord and I shared a fabulous meal with our hosts Annie and Ramond outside their 1630 Farm House. This Gite is part of an association of gites (Les Haltes Vers) that pride themselves on welcoming pilgrims in the true spirit of the Camino.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jet Lag in Toulouse

Toulouse is a wonderful place to recover from jet-lag, especially when your French friends keep showing up full of fun and entertainment. First our friend Beatrice met up with us and we had a lovely day reconnecting and sampling the finest local wines. Today we were whisked away from the city heat by our friend Maud for a picnic on the shady banks of a beautiful river. She and her two gorgeous friends prepared a magnificent spread of local food and wine for us.

We have been staying in the old part of Toulouse where we have enjoyed walking around and seeing the beautiful streets and magnificently ornamented buildings. The art galleries are also a particular treat. Gord thinks that the director of the National Gallery of Canada would sell his mother into slavery to possess the art that is found in any regional museum in France.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

What to bring?

Ok I am starting to unpack and repack far too much. It was simpler in the 11th century.  Of course I am not sure how or where they carried their Ipod, camera, and  pound of toiletries.
Camino Clothing  Essentials:
· light weight fleece
· pair of zip off pants ( quick dry)
· 2 synthetic or merino T-shirts ( Merino or Synthetic: to stink or not to stink?)
· 1 town shirt (merino long sleeve)
· 3 pairs hiking socks
· light hikers or running shoes
· 3 pairs underwear
· hat & light rain shell
· bathing suit
· other foot wear (optional)
· lightweight  sleeping liner
· tea towel instead of synthetic they rot!
· shorts

Friday, August 13, 2010

Waiting and wanting to step again

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." Lao Tzu

But some times waiting for that first step is in itself a long journey.

We fly out of Victoria on Thursday and I can't wait to get on that plane.