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  • Writer's pictureWill


Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Following from my fantastic another journey experience, day 10, Wednesday 17th April 2013. Oloron-Sainte-Marie to Bedous, 30km – 8 hours

Photo: I found it's best to leave my boots outside to ... air

Following from my fantastic another journey experience, day 11, Friday 18th April 2013

Oloron-Sainte-Marie to Bedous, 30km – 8 hours

The Camino route from Pau in France to Jaca in Spain is south. This means the sun rises on your left ear and sets on your right ear and fries your face all day. When you hear a ping, it means you turn right (west) at Jaca and grill the back of your neck for 800km.

Photo: the route from Pau in France to Jaca in Spain

Route finding was dead easy, you walk towards those big mountains. If they are to the right or left or behind you, you are going in the wrong direction.

I left the gite, found a shop, purchased my picnic lunch and set out to enjoy my eight-hour stroll. This was so different.

The landscape on the first part of my journey was harder, pinched and arid, the horizon more distant, more lonesome but now? The air smelled moist, the grass was lush green although the sun was blazing hot it didn’t feel quite as hostile.

My water top ups didn't go quite to plan, both villages had fountains but both were marked undrinkable. On the bright side, the path was easy to follow with excellent signposting.

Photo: excellent signposting

One incident stands out as truly bizarre. The path looked strangely familiar. To my right bushes bordering a small river, and to my left a three-strand barbed wire fence. This was nearly identical to a few days ago when my path was blocked by cows. I stopped, honestly, just stopped in shock. In front of me were about twenty cows, right on my path, exactly on the ford I was needing to cross. This must be a glitch in The Matrix. This was unbelievable. The difference was these cows moved as I got closer. By the time I was near enough to cross they stepped aside, I was Moses parting the Red Sea.

My day was a doddle, I found a cool comfortable spot by the river and enjoyed my bread and cheese picnic. Even my apple was still cold.

My destination for the day was a small church at the top of the village of Bedous. I was getting uncomfortably hot, sweatier, more sunburned and very very thirsty. At last, the path ended on the main road right opposite a bar. Too good an opportunity to miss, I purchased a cold beer and a litre of water. In hindsight, I should have just had the water.

Man, it was hot. Our nearest star might be 93 million miles but it was sizzling my face better than a cheap sun bed. The gentle breeze was baking me like a fan assisted oven, and the pavement was scorching my feet from underneath. I was a very happy boy, smiling and wobbling my way up the street.

The church was closed for the moment so I took sanctuary under a little wooden shelter. Water from the mountain was piped into a big concrete basin which, when full, overspilled into a smaller basin, and then away into the gutter. I took my boots and socks off and sat with the cold water up to my thighs, desperately trying to cool down.

Photos: the ritz

After an hour, I heard the church being unlocked and made my way over to book a bed. It was just me; I had the whole peaceful place to myself.

For €3. It was better than the Ritz.


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