Thursday, June 23, 2016

DAY 28: Wed 22/6 Navarrenx To Uhart-Mixe; 33.2 kms

We enjoyed our night in the historic arsenal at Navarreux and very early this morning we made our advance, shooting through the town and over the ramparts like a couple of canon balls. 

Despite the little light we spotted the GR 65 Camino markers and made good progress in the cool. We were grateful for the early start as it hotted up to be our warmest and therefore most challenging day. 

We enjoyed the beautiful forests, the farmland and the sensational vistas as we got another day closer to the Pyrenees. It was almost a cloudless sky. 

In the mid-morning we stopped at a picnic area outside a farm. A farmer and his dog came out and informed us proudly that we were now in 'Pays de Basque' (Basque country). The road we were walking was the 'frontier'. Unfortunately our linguistic ability didn't stretch to Basque so the farmer's dog didn't sit down and back off when we were eating our biscuits. 

As we walked, we noticed the Basque houses-mostly white with beetroot coloured facings and shutters. 

Our gite is called Gite Escargot and it is a restaurant below with rooms upstairs. Isabelle, the manager, greeted us with two long refreshing glasses of cool lemon drink. We have been perspiring profusely today and we need much replenishing this evening. We've needed 3-4 litres of water each to keep up. 

Have been thinking in the sun today about walking. Harold Fry said that his unlikely pilgrimage was jut a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. If you do this enough times you'll get to your destination. He was struck by the sheer simplicity of it all. 

Yet we have admired some pilgrims who have walked with a beautiful rhythm and a deftness of step. Others we have seen banging their feet down and jolting their knees. 

Simple, the act of walking might be, but we have lots to learn about walking well. Not only seeing walking as a physical activity but allowing a peaceful, anxiety-free mind translate to our feet. 

A sign we spotted in one gite reads:

"Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet."
- Thich Nhat Hanh 

There are escargot signs abounding around our gite and in it's publicity. Makes us wonder what's on the menu for dinner tonight. Or are they reminders of the value of slow travel?

C'est la Vie

Geoff & Lyn Pound 

P.S. No escargot for dinner tonight. A lovely vegetarian meal outside with 9 pilgrims from Germany, France and we Aussies plus the French gite manager and a Dutch volunteer. 

There were two mulberry trees in the courtyard and it was nice to help ourselves to the tasty berries before dinner. 

P.P.S. Photos from our walk today are posted on our Facebook pages. 

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