The day began in the monastic manner with a short prayer session in French, so I only listened, which was followed by a simple breakfast of bread, fruit & cheeses with my 3 French roommates.
Today’s walk began at the front of the church on a very vertical path leading to the Stations of the Cross which were very substantial to say the least. Soon after I was rewarded with my first view of the Pyrenees mountains and foothills.
I was impressed watching a farmer putting his cows out to pasture actually carried a broom to sweep up any droppings from the public road. People here seem to be tidy. For a country full of smokers there are few discarded butts along the roadway. In fact there is little litter of any kind. No beer cans, liquor bottles, or fast food trash.
The countryside with its small farms, fields of corn and hay, and cows grazing made me again reminiscent of my childhood days in a more agrarian Woodbridge. Back then many neighbors had sheep, horses, cows and chickens. You could always find work when it was time to bring in the hay bails.
I met no Pilgrims or hikers on the trail today but had many talks with the cows which are everywhere in small herds of 10 or so. You can hear there distinctive bell clanking from afar and of course there is the ubiquitous odeur du cow plop. I did, however, meet a French fox… unfortunately the four legged variety.
My planning for today’s walk was not very well done. I not only did not calculate the distance I neglected to factor in those lovely hills. I was becoming concerned that I would not find any food given that it was Sunday so I started picking a few berries along the way and snagged an apple from a low hanging branch. Soon after I walked into a tiny village with one restaurant open for business. I enjoyed the best ham omelette ever washed down with 2 cups of much needed coffee.
Following lunch those lovely distant hills arrived. The uphill portions are not so lovely. And the trails began presenting technical portions which slowed things down a bit. At last after 8 hours I arrived in Adruy. However I must have misread Google maps and headed off in the wrong direction and ended adding up an hour to my day. So after 9 hours and walking 20 miles I was ready to collapse. A hot shower was next as was much needed laundry. This last is new to me. I should have practiced the technique of hand washing and drying clothes. Especially knowing how long it takes to dry. With only one change of clothes this is a useful bit of knowledge.
I had to wait till 7:30 in order to have a dinner which filled bill. I did meet a fellow Camino guy. He is from the U.K. We are planning on the same destination tomorrow so our paths my well cross again.
Lastly on Camino coincidences. Tonight dormitory mate is a guy named Pat from Ireland. Seems he too had become aquatinted with Timothy O’Shaunacey, my lunch mate in Lourdes. Small world.
A side note: I have had chronic neck pain for about the past two years and more recently was having difficulty with range of motion. Massage and physical therapy helped regain a good deal of my range but did little to relieve the pain. Since my “bath” in Lourdes the pain has become minor t o nonexistent!