Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4 Arthez to Navarrenz 32km

Abbaye de Sauverlade

Time flies when you're having fun and it stands still when your feet hurt. I feel like I've spent a straight month is spiked heels. Today was a long hot day but we were able to get an early start as we could get our own petit dejeuner at 6am. It took us almost 40 minutes to get out of town as Arthez is just one street stretching about three kilometres long, as the town is situated along a high ridge. The sun and the heat took over very early and there were lots of climbs to challenge us.

Just before midday, we got to an ancient well preserved abbey. There was a very sacred small chapel gracing one end of the abbey and an Amstel Biere sign at the other end which we took as a sign from above and heeded its call. We stopped to enjoy a snack and soda and to re-meet some of the other pilgrims; a couple of German guys, Marcel and Rolf (the latter whom we'd met at our gite in Moissac the first night.

The heat and the hills took their toll on everyone but none more so than one poor pilgrim who collapsed half way up the last steep climb. Fortunately, there were other pilgrims nearby to offer assistance. When we came across the group, the fallen pilgrim was covered by an emergency blanket and an ambulance was on its way. Once the EMTs arrived and the pilgrim was in expert hands, everyone wordlessly pulled out their water bottles, took several refreshing gulps and continued on their way. An important reminder to stay hydrated even before you realize you're thirsty.

Two more hours and we were in Navarrenz in a chambre d'hote over a sports bar. It is actually better than it sounds as we have our own room and bathroom which is an indulgent luxury on a camino. It does have it's drawbacks as it separates us from the other pilgrims who bravely stay in the communal gites sharing 6 to 8 to a room and often only one bath and shower for all. Guess we'll just deal with the joyful guilt of being on our own.

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