July 17, 2008

Day 37: 20 May- Aire-sur-l'Adour to Miramont-Sensacq

The first bit of the walk this morning I had lots of company..... from a huge group of day-pack pilgrims. It was hard not to feel malice towards them when I felt so anxious about finding a bed!!! But before long we were walking beside a lake, quite a novelty really on this whole walk. It was hard to retain malice in such a peaceful setting.
Again, there were newly sowed fields to pass on very flat ground,and L&D walked not too far away from me, though their walking pace was faster than mine. I was still slow and steady.... a true tortoise still after all these weeks....
Several times this morning I ended up talking to a young Swiss woman who had slept in the same room in the gite. It seemed that 12km passed quickly, and we had reached Latrille, a village that provided a shed with tables and chairs and a coffee machine. This was next to a church, where I heard a man singing joyfully, the same man who I had heard singing the previous day in the Cathedral.

I wasn't expecting anything very special for this night's accommodation, in the gite communal, but I was very wrong. It turned out that the Landes region Jacquaire group take responsibility for hosting this gite as hospitaliers. I was given a very warm welcome by the elderly woman who greeted me. (And L&D had saved me a bottom bunk in the same room as them...) And later the hospitalier's brother arrived, and he was a fount of knowledge. The regional group have made a DVD about the routes through this region, and it included detail about the churches we would pass the next day. And we were provided with a shared evening meal, donativo.

I loved this sign in the village with its very Kiwi connection. I thought that there was an error, and that the sign should read "Eden Park". But a Frenchman explained to me that Pack was used deliberately as a French play on words, to reflect the rugby scrum.

Later in the afternoon L & I took some time to sing in the village church. (She loved doing it... I was always a little shy in case a stranger should walk in! 'Next' time I walk the Chemin, I hope I will be much more brazen!!)


  1. I am so enjoying your blog! I just did a internet-translation of the title of your blog...Yahoo translated it as "It is necessary to go gently." How lovely! The title perfectly matches your account of your journey. Thank you for all the wonderful photos and descriptions of the route. ~ Nancy

  2. Oh Nancy, I don't know how I missed this comment when you made it, and I am sorry I made no reply! Yes, it was one of the special things about walking in France. Everyone seemed so very conscious that it was a long way to Santiago, and that you did need to treat your body with some respect by walking gently if you were to reach Santiago. "Il faut aller doucement, doucement, pour aller à St Jacques".- You need to go gently, gently, to reach Santiago.- It was a phrase I heard repeatedly from French walkers in my early weeks.