Monday, July 29th
Today promises to be truly evil. The sky is already pink, predicted temperature of about 35, and it's a 31.5kms walk. Would've started an hour ago, but the backpack is kind of trapped in the caravan behind sleeping bodies.
Saint Francis, Clementine, Assisi
The threat of an evil morning had disappeared though. More cloud cover. Walking out of town, passing the Saint Quitterie, closed. Was surprised that both the eglises in Nogaro, historic monuments in themselves, were closed yesterday. On a Sunday. Always assumed that Dimanches were God's big day.
Another two backpackers have just rolled up. One of them almost literally, as he's pushing a trolley type thing. He even carries a spare wheel. he stops for a chat, and this will probably go on for quite some time.
At the eglise. The Way, today, has been good. Fairly long, unchanging roads, and I'm usually so far behind the others that I can think.
So I began planning my novel. Just rough, at the moment, but if the Way continues as it has so far, I should have some kind of firm plot structure by the end of the day. It involves an angel with red wings. So far, this may change, I get caught up with opening lines, they have to be good. If I can get the opening just right, then the rest will fall into place.
Lunch. This time the petit pains bought a few days ago with camembert cheese. Down the road a little there's a fountain that's apparently renowned for improving eyesight.
The road we've followed had people's names writ large all over them, maybe it's been part of the Tour d'France. But, typically, a variety of roads; uphill roads, both gentle and steep; downhill roads, likewise. Stopping at every eglise, drinking water like a maniac, while the villages we're passing through are like ghost towns. Everything's closed, occasionally someone to "bonjour". The houses pretty, some exceptionally so, but there just there.
Rolled into town, just after five, and damn the Post Office is closed. The French Bureau d'Poste is a waste of time. They're open for three hours in the morning, then for two hours in the afternoon, closing at three. Useless.
Anyway, to continue the groaning for a while, my feet hurt. For the first time, they ache. But tomorrow's shorter. but not by much, a kilometer or two.
Arzacq is a really Spanish-looking town. A huge public area surrounded by the Centre Ville. You kind of expect snipers from the rooftops. Hey, gringo! Hey, pelerin!
And almost next door to the gite (and, by the way, I'm in the 'London' room, it has the Union Jack flapping outside). Alas, no Oz flag.
But, just the beer, the one. There's people outside, drinking slowly, as it the French wont. Inside, the local yobs are drinking Coke, while another plays a computer game, and he obviously thinks that computers are meant to respond to being belted with an open fist. Somehow, I can't see that being written into into programming language.
A couple of backpackers just wandered in, still toting packs. They don't stay long.
Outside the bar. On the TV inside are televised bullfights. Bulls being killed and the crowds going wild, flapping white material in appreciation of a particularly fine kill. Then the highlights, the instant replays, again and again.