One kilometer

Thursday, October 1st – Day 24

As far as the tendon thing goes, I had a suspicion the pain was from wearing and walking in flip flops. I have them for the shower, but sometimes it’s just easier to keep wearing them than getting out my sandals. So I’m pretty sure the pain was from just not being able to walk properly while wearing them. From now on I will make sure to only use them in the shower.

Something funny, at dinner last night, a woman came up to me and said, “You are American, yes? I have a question. What is the reason for celebrating Thanksgiving?” I didn’t really know what to say at first, so I told her that the legend was that the Pilgrims didn’t have enough food to survive the winter and the Indians gave them food and they all celebrated by eating together. Something like that. I told her that’s not what really happened, but that’s the legend. So she said thank you and that’s what she had thought, but the man she was arguing with said it was stupid for the Indians to give them food.

I am still not sleeping well. The first few weeks I fell asleep quickly and slept almost the whole night. Since being sick, even though I’m better now, I’m still not sleeping well. It’s very annoying. I was awake at 6:30, so I figured I’d get up and get a jump on the long day. Eauze is supposed to be 33 kilometers.

I actually did very well, and was on my way at 7:45. I caught up with Chantal and Claire (I shared a room with them in Marsolan) and followed them through the city. I told them I had problems finding the Way in the city.

I stopped at a boulangerie to get 3 croissants, and as I was going out, Francois was coming in. He was at the gîte in Saint Antoine, and I had almost walked a bit with him going into Lectoure. I passed him, but I was going only very slightly faster, so we probably walked 6-7k less than 100m apart. In hindsight it seemed rather silly, so today I decided I would start out walking with him. He kept telling me not to wait for him, but I was soon telling him it was me trying to keep up with him. He’s 77 years old, and he left from Le Puy on September 13! 9 days after I did. The man is a beast! We caught up with Laurence and walked with her for a while. After stopping to take a few pictures, and a bathroom break, Francois was about 500m ahead, and it took quite a while to catch up with him.

When I was with Laurence, we passed a bridge that is part of the historical pilgrim route, so you can be sure that millions of pilgrims have passed over it. It’s also supposed to be 1000k from Santiago. That means if you walk 25k a day, it will take 40 days to get there. Since today is October 1, that’s pretty easy to figure out. So you would get into Santiago by Nov 9 or 10. That means I’m still doing well, and I will still be able to take rest days without causing a problem. My two week buffer is coming in handy. I think I will use most of it. Especially if I want to continue on to Finisterre.

I caught up with Francois and spent the rest of the day walking with him, and it’s probably a good thing. 33k is a very long day. Again. I keep telling myself that after this week I will be nicer to myself. He definitely kept me going. He has never walked the Camino before. This is the first time he’s walked and he’s going from Le Puy to St. Jean in 30 days. He said he doesn’t know if he will continue to Santiago at another time or not. That’s not his motivation for walking. His motivation for walking is to wash his brain. I told him that’s one of the reasons I was doing it too. I asked if it was working, and he said “Yes, my brain is washed, but now I have to fill it again, and that’s the hard part.” Yes, I agree.

We walked a lot through huge vineyards. He said the region is famous for a drink that is similar to cognac. Armegnac or something. We stopped to eat lunch, and I ate a lot. I had two yogurts and 3 croissants with cheese! And a peach that wasn’t very good.

Francois said he would make his reservation at lunch, and said he’d decided to call Chez Nadine, which coincidentally is the same place I’m going! After he booked his night, I asked if he would call and book my Saturday and Sunday for me. My first choice was unavailable, since the woman running the gîte had a baby and they’re closed. The price listed for the one I booked was variable, so I have no idea how much I’ll be paying. Sometimes you just don’t care.

After lunch we only had about 10k to go, and I was feeling pretty good. Soon, though, my feet started hurting, and I started moaning and complaining. Francois didn’t complain at all, and I commented on it, and he said, “No, I never complain, it does no good.” And I said, “Yes it does!” There was a stone ledge up ahead on a bridge, so I told him I wanted to sit for a bit but he could go on. He said he would wait for me. As we got there, I saw that the girl we had been following was Claire! So I asked her what happened the other day. Turns out she took the wrong way out of Marsolan, so while I was trying to catch up to her, she was behind me. She had a bad night and was awake at 5, so she started walking at 7 in the moonlight. While we were talking, Jean Claude caught up with us. He was also at the gîte in Saint Antoine. He speaks English, but he’s pretty deaf, so it’s hard to talk to him.

A while back I had figured we had 6k to go still. When we sat on the bridge, I figured it was about 4k. Jean Claude said it was only 2.3k to go! Part of me thought it was too good to be true, but it did help lift my feet a bit.

We were walking on a tree covered path, very straight. Not quite as bad as the canal out of Moissac, but it just seemed to go on and on. We kept passing bridges that looked similar, so I said, “look, it’s the same bridge, we’re just going in circles!” Finally we saw a sign that said, “Eauze, 2.3k”. So we kept walking, but nothing was changing. We kept saying, “One more kilometer.” Finally we saw some people after we had walked forever, and Francois talked to them, and they pointed the way they had come and said, “1 kilometer.” Then we walked on for another while and saw some more people and they said they same thing! “1 Kilometer.” It soon became a joke, and the day felt like it would never end. I pulled up the address on google maps, and it was all the way on the other side of the city. More like 2 kilometers! In the city center, Francois asked at a store where the gîte was, and she said it was that way, 1.7 kilometers. We walked by the Cathedral, but I knew if I didn’t stop and take pictures I was not going to go back. Francois asked if I knew the directions, and we parted.

The Cathedral wasn’t the biggest I’ve seen, but it was quite tall and quite pretty!

I started walking down the street out of town, and about halfway, I heard “1 kilometer!” from behind, and it was Francois. He had gotten lost and walked down the wrong street, but he said it was ok, it was only 1 kilometer. We ran in to Beatrice coming down the street and we said we were going to Chez Nadine, and she said, “Oh yes, it’s about 5 or 6 houses up,” and Francois said, “Is it 1 kilometer?” And she said, “oh, no, no, it’s not that far.” She clearly didn’t get the joke. It felt like 1 kilometer.

21 miles. 33.6 kilometers. The day that wouldn’t end finally did.

Dinner was nice. The starter was a chicken noodle soup of sorts, but it might not have been chicken. Then the next course was that endive wrapped in ham and cheese. Apparently it’s a popular French dish, and it was better this time, but I don’t think anything could make it truly good. That endive is just not tasty. It’s very bitter. Apparently some people really like it. Pas moi. Then there was some fish, Angille, and potatoes, then creme brulee for dessert. Overall it was a nice dinner, and of course I forgot to take a picture of the people again. I meant to, but then I just get too tired.

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8 Comments

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  1. That must have been the longest kilometer of your life!
    I get the impression that nobody actually knows the distances: the guidebook says X km, the sign says Y km, the passerby says Z, and then the other walkers argue whether it is actually A or B km! It all sounds so stereotypically French to me! (In Germany, there would be no dispute–the distance would be XX km, and all the guidebooks, signs, and people would know this. heh!)

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  2. Glad you figured out why you’ve been having pain. Hope it heals quickly!

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  3. One kilometer!! 😀

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  4. Betsey! I have just finished reading your entire blog (thus far) in one sitting. What a journey you are (still) on! I am loving the pictures (especially some of the fog ones, and pix of people). I am relieved that your lungs are working well again. And really hope that you are done already! with 30+K days! Jerry is still out there somewhere between Moissac and SJ Pied de Port, so keep your eyes open for him as you cruise by. You go, Girl! Megan

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  5. PS. Jerry is in Geus D’Arzacq now, so I guess that’s a few days ahead of you. But he’s doing shorter days than you (who isn’t?). He left Moissac on Sept 22.

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  6. Betsey. If you are going to catch him now, you’ll have to come to Portland (which would be totally great!) because he has decided it’s time for him to come home. I am glad to hear that you are going to slow down a bit though! I bet there will be less of Anick’s pain & suffering that way, but hey, you can’t always get exactly what you want. 🙂

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