Today (Sunday) has been a great day!
I’m writing this in a warm bed and will upload it in the morning when I have @ connection.
This morning (after meeting up with Jean-Francoise again by chance and spending a while having a chat with him) I began my walk out of Arzacq-Arraziguet, wondering why I had felt nauseous in the cafe and also wondering whether my right leg was hurting because it just felt like it or whether I had injured it and would need to take a day’s rest before long to recover.
Whenever people hear that I walked from Prague their eyes tend to pop out for a few seconds and when they hear I only had one day’s rest along the way they tend to look at me to see if my eyes are fully secured in their sockets. I know I should take more than one day’s rest in over 2,000km walked so far, but I hate to be idle and I feel that the challenge of walking from Prague to the Atlantic Ocean should be just that: a challenge (mentally and physically).
The paths on the way out of the town were characteristic of those on the way in; wet, muddy and slippery. I have very little tread left on my boots now and I inevitably slip and fall at least once a day in these days of heavy rain showers.
The landscape has become densely greener in recent days and among the trees and plants along the way you can see many banana plants (post photo) growing in this region, although I doubt though that they actually bear fruit.
The landscape today (I walked almost 50km) can be described as: hill up, hill down, walk 5km on the flat, repeat.
Along the way I passed this beautiful contraption which (like me) was made in England:
They are also drilling for oil along the Camino:
Although my right hamstring was causing me grief today I found that I had such focus and determination to walk, and I found myself in the early evening arriving to the town of Arthez-de-Béarn. As you approach the town you have an option of taking the direct route to the town on the road, or taking the slightly longer route to the town which goes via the Chapelle de Caubin:
I took the latter route and popped into the chapelle to see if there was anything interesting to see, walking into a Christian group session headed by Father Arman. I apologised for interrupting their session, but it was ok with everyone. They offered me some cake (they laughed when I gobbled it down in seconds) and asked me questions about my journey, and then I seized the opportunity to ask the charismatic young priest if I could crash at his place for the night. It wasn’t a problem and I continued walking on towards the town to head directly to his house while he would wind up with the group and drive in (I only walk the Camino and never take other forms of transport so I offered to meet him at his house after I had walked the remaining distance). The priests house is a charming French building:
Arman returned and after showing me my room and shower/toilets, he also offered me a warm bite to eat. I of course accepted and it felt SO good to be eating a warm and hearty meal, which was helped down with a glass of Chateau Franc Bigaroux 2009 – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru:
I was flabbergasted that Arman kept this bottle of such high quality wine in the fridge and I humbly, but seriously recommended that he store any further wines of this caliber at room temperature. I took a second glass and have it with me in my room now, waiting for it to warm up to around 17 degrees celsius, so I can taste it at its near best:
The food which Arman served up was very good and we also had a very interesting chat about his work and also the demanding aspect of having to watch over 28 churches. A lovely chat and a lovely guy.
Arman and I agreed to have breakfast in the morning at around 8am, so that means a potentially longer sleep for me, and then I’ll go grab some @ and head off further along the way. According to my calculations I only have 92.5km left remaining until I reach Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and before I begin the Camino Frances/French Way.