Left Gues d’Arzacg a little before 8 in our fleece jackets and wondering about when the rain would hit. It was overcast and cool. We hit a minor mud episode on the trail to Pomps where many of our trail compadres had spent the night in the “spartan” communal Gite. That means one toilet for twelve and bunk beds.
Started to catch up with folks shortly after Pomps as we started to head over a hill to a town on a hill called Castillon. The villages and the houses in this area are just cute. Gardens are in bloom and energetic gardeners are everywhere. Went downhill and then uphill into Arthez de Bearne which strung out for two Kms along a ridge. Stopped for a lemonade and bathroom break. Also picked up what we needed for a proper picnic at noon.
We came across another orchard of ancient fruit tree varieties planted along the Chemin by the pilgrim associations. Nice effort to maintain traditions in agriculture as well as culture along the historic path.
If the weather had been clear, we would have seen the Pyrenees clearly. It wasn’t. We settled for a lonely walk along a ridge overlooking miles of farmland nestled in valleys. Had a proper picnic on a large stone at the correct time.
Did encounter one chapel that belonged to the Knights of St. John. There was a lonely knight in full armor laying behind a screen of Gothic stonework. No idea who he was.
We reached level ground and walked through farmland until we crossed in quick succession a railroad track, the River Pau and an Autoroute. We crossed them all on bridges that felt safe all the way. We then strode into our 20 km destination, Maslacq and found a place for a beer. Found our delightful Chambre d’Hote with a pool. We have a private room with all the facilities. It is in the eighties and sunny. Peggy has her feet in the pool. So much for cool weather.
Hopefully we will not be in the nineties too soon. The Pyrenees are a few days away and we have a good day of up and down tomorrow as we head for Navarrenx.
A well run Chambre d’Hote is a treat. Our host Miriam greeted us with cold apple juice and a warm welcome. We had our showers in our cabana near the pool. She has helped us make our next two nights reservations in this area with few choices. Her daughter had visited California last year and enjoyed practicing her English. She had cold beers for us to enjoy ( the kind and size Dave Sheff would like) after a little while in the sun. She seemed to anticipate our needs including pointing out that our planned lunch stop tomorrow is under new management and no food is available. She is fixing us a sandwich. Problem solved. She doesn’t do dinner but has fixed us up with the restaurant down the block. The aperitif and snack arrived an hour before dinner. No Petit Dejeuner until 7:35 because the days fresh bread is not available at the end of the street until 7:30.
We told her how much we appreciated all of her efforts. We discussed the fact that not all people could run a Chambre d’Hote because of their personality. She enjoys meeting people and helping with their needs. Great attitude and a wonderful person.
The small town of Maslacq has the usual town hall, library, parish church, post office and convenience store and a restaurant. What is unusual is that all the homes are full and maintained. Usually half seem in empty because of the modern depopulation with people moving to the cities. The farmers have their equipment stored in the town in their barns next to their homes that are mixed in with the rest of the town. The place is special in its own way. Enjoyed our visit.
Oh yes, here is a picture of our aperitif.
While you are relishing the beauties of France, we here at home are suffering the usual unusual circumstances: the drunk on the stolen motorcycle, who was cheered on Washington Street by crowds of bar patrons, as he lead the police on a slow-speed chase from Sonora to Jamestown to Tuolumne, back to Jamestown, to Sonora. Or his brother in cups who rammed the police station and fled, only to complain, upon capture, that the police should be working to catch real criminals. But by far the most concerning is the man screaming at a duck pond and banging his head on a table. Please enjoy the tranquility, while you can. David urges you NOT to share these stories with the French, who already think we’re weird enough.
I read in the paper what Suzan wrote about –all is peaceful here. There was a parade last Saturday and our church had a float in it and every one that went had a great time. (I didn’t go) The pictures of the houses you sent are very interesting . I am looking forward to what it will be like when you are going though the Mts. Glad you are well prepared. Goldie is very glad I am waking up at 6 30 most mornings. All OK.