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Day One: Lourdes to Asson

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes - Santiago April 2015, Via Francigena 2017
Before today I had various romantic visions for our departure on the Camino from Lourdes - a quiet moment, a taste of holy water, a last peek into the splendid cathedral to wish us well on our way. Au contraire, there myself and Adeline stood in the pouring rain like drenched rats as a passing Frenchman cracked a joke about us looking like hunch-backs in our bright red ponchos. We were surrounded by a milling crowd of plastic covered wheel chairs and umbrella wielding nuns, while we desperately tried to take the obligatory selfie, me hoping my i-Phone is water-proof. To the uninitiated this must've all seemed very, very surreal.

And then we were off.

Actually, walking while it rains cats and dogs is quite enjoyable if you're geared well, so we took it in our stride. After following the river for a kilometer or two we switched to a lush forested path. A small deer darted shyly among the trees, and every now and than we'd stop to look at a lizard or insect that was strange to our South African eyes. It was great to be solitary and surrounded by nature.

After about 15km of walking along largely deserted farm roads we reached Betharram, the first main town on our route. We lunched at a hotel restaurant where we saw the only other pilgrims for the day, and then set off for a steep climb on a path leading 200m up a hill to a small, intrigueing cemetery with three full-size crosses towering overhead. All along the way and at the top we saw beautifully designed religious shrines, I wish I knew the history behind them. Was it the legacy of a rich aristocrat from the previous century? It certainly looked that way...

We'd estimated the road to Asson where we're staying over to be about 20km but the farm roads stretched into a distance of 29km according to my gps - quite a distance, but still immensely enjoyable for the first day on Camino. Arrived in Asson around six, hunted around for the parish refuge, were taken to an upstairs, bare basics room, and then rather abruptly told all shops and restaurants were closed. A walk around the village confirmed that - all we could find was a croissant vending machine (where else in the world do you find that??) but after punching in a Euro, turns out it was empty.

Which meant our dinner before we nodded off for the day consisted of two energy bars and and two sachets of cuppacino kind souls back home had donated to us. Such are the blessings of friends...
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Wow..rain, additional k's and no food. It's gotta get better. Please keep us posted.
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
Charl
Yes,please do keep the updates coming
Its ironic..i am considering leaving from Lourdes
May the Sun light every path your on!
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
...all we could find was a croissant vending machine (where else in the world do you find that??) but after punching in a Euro, turns out it was empty...
The Evil One is known for placing obstacles in the path of the righteous. Rejoice in the knowledge that he (the Evil One) considers your pilgrimage a threat to his influence in the world.
 

Charl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes - Santiago April 2015, Via Francigena 2017
Sorry if the posts come a bit irregularly, internet is very patchy. But believe me this is turning into the adventure of a lifetime... BTW Mike Vasey your tips are invaluable :)
 

sunsurf

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Figeac(2012)
Rocamadour to Condom(2013)
Cluny to Le Puy (partially)(2014)
Mont St Michel to Nantes(2016)
Hi Charl, looking forward to your posts. Mooi loop. Bon chemin. Dolfina (Cape Town)
 

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