There were so many walkers in the Gite last night that a young French woman had to sleep in the passageway outside our door. The main problem with this was (being highly trained Gite people) that we couldn’t turn the lights on, and going down the hill (very steep and highly polished stairs) in the dark was quite a challenge, but good walking practice.

The graceful L’Adour flows into this town in the shade of the hills, as a river, and flows out as a lake, which we walk along as we leave this place of water.

Out onto the flat plains and young corn and other crops are carefully poking their heads through the soil looking for the heat that is missing again today. Thankfully for us, these treeless plain pathways were being shaded by ‘cumulus and stratus’, but later in the walk when they parted company, it made walking a little harder.

With these landform types it means you can see walkers dotting the countryside in different degrees of stress, the varying speeds and the numerous pack colours. The stress is at its most obvious coming into a village, for, as your natural rhythm fades, pictures are taken, etc., walkers start to feel their bodies more. They begin to limp and sway, become lopsided and walk a little like some do with Parkinson’s, causing a local to say: “I thought walking was supposed to be good for you”.

As we walked into the only cafe village of the day we observed the usual walker behaviours. Some search out the cafe shops, others immediately find a chair (remember not many in France), most packs come off, a few shoes are removed, wound dressings are applied, water bottles filled, ‘official’ toilets are frequented, churches are visited, some take a look around the village, while one or two might just walk on through. With non-cafe villages though, most just walk through after a quick look.

Continuing on, we chatted to 2 young familiar French people from our Gite, bonjoured many more, and soon entered rolling tree covered hills and valleys once more. After such long flat pathways for so long, these undulations are welcome, making the walk more interesting and pleasing to the eye, with little surprises around every corner and through every tree tunnel.

There were yellow and mauve wild flowers, sheep and cattle, a disused ancient village about 2 minutes long, small streams, wooden bridges, a farmhouse now and then and more. Into a rare rain forested tunnel, large old trees covered with moss, slithers of light breaking the shaded ground, and all of a sudden, you are alone, thinking that no-one else is on the track until we reached home.

A gorgeous town on top of a 5 minute hill, as steep as any we have climbed. But when you know it’s the last, it’s not so bad. Irene and her playful three year old grandson, Anton, greeted us at their home in this one street village decorated with an array of huge roses.
This fertile valley attracted monks in the 13th century who cared for pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostela.

It’s church along with one other small one we passed earlier, delighted us with their fabulous design and their charming simplicity. This village has the same character so we will look forward to enjoying its company.