Yesterday morning I left the cafe in Arthez-de-Béarn where I checked my @ at around 9:30am and I had no idea that I would be eventually getting to sleep just before midnight, after walking 51km.
Before I left Arthez I bumped into Xavier, a lovely pilgrim from France:
The way out of Arthez begins first flat-ish, and then evolves into (beautiful) gently undulating meadows:
I passed this group of tourists sitting out in front of the cows, eating their lunch, and when I asked if I could photo the moment one of the women replied with a long Mooooo:
When I was about 15km from Navarrenx, I bumped into Anna again and we had a lovely walk and chat until the town limits when she went off to find her Gite and when I sat down on the grass to gorge on pate and baguette. Along the way we passed this shepherd with his flock:
Stopping briefly in Navarrenx, I again met up with Nikolaus who I had met previously on the Geneva Way route:
Navarrenx btw is a beautiful little town, in the French Basque region of France.
At around 6pm I left Navarrenx, and began the 18km walk on towards the village of Aroue.
The path was very poor, with an abundance of water affecting the way:
The countryside though begins again to become beautiful, and I was reminded of Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port when I took this photo:
It was beginning to get late and the rain made a late entrance into the day’s events:
Time for a spot of supper:
I eventually reached sight of the village of Aroue at around 10pm, but before the village the Camino signs pointed left. I of course followed the signs like the good little GR65 soldier that I am and soon walked into a darkness which was devoid of any signs of urban conurbation; 1.5 – 2km to be exact. The light of day was beginning to settle beyond the mind’s eye:
I headed back in the direction which I came and walked up to the village and found a place to sleep for the night in a semi-outdoor sports hall:
A good night’s sleep after the effects of the day’s walking had worn off.
It turns out that there are two GR65 routes from Aroue; the one which I mistakenly took late at night and the other one which takes you through the village and upwards into the hills. The latter is a kilometre or two shorter than the first and this morning I have taken this one to balance out the extra kilometres which I walked last night. The countryside in this part of French Basque just keeps getting better and better:
French Basque so far has shown a people who are extremely friendly and hospitable.
There are of course always exceptions to this rule:
Also, the churches in the French Basque region (surprisingly) look more Germanic than the latin influenced architecture seen so far on this Le Puy Way:
Today I am going to take it much easier and take my time a little.
The adrenalin rush which fuelled my last 2 day’s walks has settled now; cut by the aching in my legs and the reintroduction of the sunshine which today makes the walk humid but pleasant.
Be warned btw that since walking out of Navarrenx that there has been a 100% lack of any signs of civilisation in terms of a place which has a working patisserie.