July 17, 2008

Day 38: 21 May- Miramont-Sensacq to Arzacq-Arraziguet

After watching the film yesterday evening, I felt more like a pilgrim today as I passed churches that I knew more about, that had been on the pilgrim route for centuries. Sensacq had a lovely chapel with a very old baptismal font. And others who had been in the gite were also checking it out. The French couple here had shared our room, and had already walked the Camino Frances another year. They told a moving story about how they had arrived in Santiago, and walked hand-in-hand into the Cathedral, with tears in their eyes. They said that they had not even realised they had 'lost' each other in their marriage, but they knew they had 're-found' each other by walking the Camino together.

Pimbo was a very welcoming place, and we were even able to clean up our muddy shoes a bit before continuing, as well as sit and relax a little in the sunshine. I had the odd experience here of a German women needing me to translate her English into French for the information office lady, so that accommodation could be booked... I was seen to be a fluent French speaker in some quarters!!!

Around lunchtime it became quite warm, and we were exposed to the heat on the roads here. There was a telephone box near the gite in Arzacq, and I was finally able to get through and make some more reservations. I was glad to get a bed in Orisson, and two nights in SJPP. The end of the French section of the walk began to be in sight.... suddenly there was 'only' 144km to reach the mountain pass on the Pyrenees.... truly, it didn't seem far at all....
And signs were starting to appear in Basque as well as in French.

I had a single room, complete with its own bathroom, all to myself, here in this gite. It was because I had got the very last remaining bed when I rang. L&D finally ended up staying here too, 'camping' on the floor in a spare room, as there were just no spare beds in the whole region, with several large walking groups around. (Apparently though, this was a bulge, and things were definitely quieter in a day or so!)

We enjoyed a shared dinner, next to five French people, who have been doing the Chemin over several years in week-long stages. When they began in Le Puy, they did 30km days. But the following year, they decided to take time to enjoy the walk more, and reduced their daily distances to around 20km or so. People after my own heart!

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