Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day 25, Sunday June 19: Aire-sur-l'Adour to Arzacq-Arrazaguet - 34.5 kms

True to all warnings, last night was very noisy. The bands didn't stop until 1 am and then the drunk yobbos yelling through the streets persisted for ages after. Nevermind, we were in a cute place with a room of our own and we enjoyed charming company for dinner. 

At breakfast, being the only early birds  this time, we were able to chat to and thank the gite owner. She mentioned how much she enjoyed last night's dinner crowd but that it's not always like that. She said that sometimes pilgrims complain bitterly about seemingly little things and that she had to gently remind them that a pilgrim gite was not a hotel. This conversation set us on our way reflecting on how an attitude of gratitude over that of entitlement (the former being such an essential attitude to strive for as a pilgrim, we feel) is a constant choice and that it's easy to slide off balance.

We left an hour earlier today in order to make the most of walking in the morning, as we had a longer distance to cover. Very soon after setting out, we found ourselves walking around a beautiful lake, sometimes along a boardwalk. The first 20 kms was flat and at times we were walking through superb tree canopied woodlands for long stretches. It felt like sacred ground - the tranquility with no one else around. 

The last 14 kms was more undulating with some fairly steep ups & downs. We were very pleased to have overcast skies for most of the day - perfect walking weather. We had our usual delightful surprises of bumping into previous Camino friends we never thought we'd ever see again. 

Our accommodation tonight is unusual in that it is a gite communal, but with the option of dinner & breakfast, if desired. It's way smarter than any others we've stayed in and it highlights the way the village authorities have placed great importance on comfortable accommodation for pilgrims passing through. We're in a type of little motel with our own ensuite - such a luxury. What's more, the shower is as powerful as a massage shower and such a treat for aching shoulders. 

Dinner was highly enjoyable with around 20 present and the French people surrounding us made such an effort to communicate. We had roast duck - not sausages - which is a real specialty in the south-west of France. 

We have felt blessed today by all the highly transient encounters we've had with people interlacing our lives - total strangers who, often unawares, have shown us such kindness, through attitude, words or actions. It's stressed for us the way quantity, time-wise can, at times, be of little consequence. 

John Rutter's 'For the beauty if the earth' has given us great delight today. When we felt very tired we let it play until we felt the words wrapping around us, giving us a renewed sense of wonder at the beauty of the creation we were slowly moving through.   

Bonne nuit

Geoff & Lyn

1 comment:

  1. Some of your posts, like this one, have moved me to tears.

    Mary Lou