Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 20: A Tour of Churches

Dscn0678bAugust 31: It rained overnight and into the morning, but it stopped about an hour before I actually left the hotel and started hiking. On my way out of town, I went to a mailbox to mail some postcards, turned the corner, and saw a woman opening the mailbox to pick up the mail. I waved my postcards to her and handed them to her directly. Wow, they collect their mail pretty darned early in the morning here!

The forecast predicted a 30% chance of rain every hour from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM, but miraculously, it never happened. You might be thinking, “But a 30% chance means it probably won’t happen! That shouldn’t be a surprise!”

But I beg to differ… In my experience, when you’re on the trail hiking, a 30% chance of rain means it’ll likely rain for 30% of the time. It means that it will rain at some point between 10 and 3, but they aren’t sure exactly when, so they hedge their bets by offering a 30% chance for each hour.

So the fact that it never rained on me was quite a nice surprise. I managed to miss the rain the day before, and the rain early in the morning. But admittedly, it was mostly due to luck. I fully expected to be rained on both days!

The main guidebook I used showed the trail going through the small town of Latrille, which had a water source by the church, so I was expecting to refill my water there. Somewhere along the way, long passed when I would have expected to have reached Latrille, I saw a road sign that pointed to Latrille on a road off to the left but the trail markers pointed straight ahead. The trail didn’t go to Latrille?

Dscn0681bI pulled out another guidebook and consulted it, and it appears that the trail had been rerouted at some point since 2009 to no longer pass through Latrille, and the next water source was quite a few more kilometers away. Hmm… The situation wasn’t critical. If I had to, I could have walked into Latrille and gotten more water. But the day was cool and I wasn’t drinking a lot to begin with and I felt safe stretching my water to the next town of Miramoun-Sensacq.

Just before the town, I passed a house in which a local homeowner set up a picnic table for pilgrims to stop and rest. There were four people already there when I arrived, and initially I intended to keep hiking. I needed water, after all, and I didn’t know any of them. But as I started to walk past, they waved me over, so I veered over to say hi and see if any of them spoke English.

None of them did—absolutely no English at all—but they still encourage me to sit down and join them so I did so, and they offered me yogurt, bread, ham and other foods. When I asked if they brought too much food and were trying to unload it on me, they all laughed hilariously. I don’t think they could have really understood me, though, since none of them knew any English, and wondered if they were laughing at me for some reason. But they seemed friendly, so I didn’t make too much of it. Anyhow, they were feeding me all sorts of foods. I don’t like to bite the hand that feeds me!

I wandered through the town of Arzacq-Arraziguet late in the day and all of the stores had already closed. Even the tourist office had already closed, so I didn’t get a tampon for the day. I walked to the church to take a few photos of it, then continued on out of town eventually setting up a campsite by a reservoir just outside of town.

The chaffing that had all but crippled me for the last two days practically vanished today. I can’t say definitely what caused it or why it went away, but I suspected that it might just have been dirt. Dirt on me, dirt in my clothes, and taking a shower and washing my clothes was all I needed to do the trick. The chaffing wasn’t completely gone—the raw skin doesn’t heal overnight!—but it was no longer affecting my walking and I figured a couple of more days for the chaffed area to heal and I’d be back to new.

In other news, each day I pass a huge number of churches that I’ll usually pop my head into if for no other reason to sign a logbook that I was there and see what it looks like inside. Today, I made a concentrated effort to take a picture of every single church I saw, so that’s what the title of this post is about. =) I think I got them all, but it’s possible I could have forgotten to take a picture of one or two of the churches along the way. Or maybe they were off the trail by a block or two and I somehow missed them. But today’s photos should show a good sampling of the variety of churches I pass by on a given day.

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Looks like somebody turned 40 this year—but
40 doesn’t seem old enough for black and red balloons…

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A church in Aire-sur-l’Adour on my way out of town.

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This is the inside of said church.

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Some wildlife on the trail. This little fellow just
would NOT hold still for my photo!

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Apparently, there is danger on the trail, but I’m not
entirely sure what the danger is since I don’t know French. =)

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A little roadside religious… I don’t know what to call it.
Not really a chapel or church. Not a memorial…

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Another church in Miamont-Sensacq.

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Billboards of the Camino.

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I just found this fence really interesting. =)

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This small church wasn’t even in any town. Just by itself, surrounded with farms.

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I’m not sure why they put up barriers around
this church. It certainly didn’t keep anyone out!

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This photos is my favorite of a stained-glass window
(from the church in the previous photo). I like the
silhouette of the statue in front of it, and I absolutely
love the “shadow” that the stained-glass casts
on the wall next to it.

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This poor guy had the biggest pack I’d seen yet on the trail. Turns out,
he’s been carrying it since Germany! Given the size of it, I assumed
he must have had camping gear and such. But no, he told me,
he didn’t. I wanted to ask, “Then why the #*@& is your pack so freaking big!”
but thought it might sound rude and stopped trying to guess. =)

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A small rest area along the trail with a view. =)

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Is it just me, or does this cloud just look too “perfect”? It seems
almost fake-looking to me.

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The church in Arzacq-Arraziguet.

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On my way out of Arzacq-Arraiguet, I passed this sign. Since it’s in
French, I can’t tell you exactly what it says, but I really liked the picture. =)
And I do kind of get the gist of some of it. Like, “Bonjour les bipedes!” probably
means something like “Hello, my two-footed friends!” Then my
comprehension goes to “blah blah blah Compostelle blah blah 910 kilometers!”
And, “Bon courage” probably means something like “Sucker!” =)

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Sunset over the reservoir outside of Arzacq-Arraziguet.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ryan,Their called shrines.

Anonymous said...

The word you want is "shrine." (But someone posted this just before me.)

tiggermama said...

Yup, they're shrines.

And the sign is giving you "bipeds" directions to a gite right, then a left for a good rest to go the next 910 km. (might have been the other way around, i can't see your post when i'm posting. Two words to learn: a droite (to the right), gauche (left).

And Bon courage means more like "Keep to it! Stay proud!" although "Sucker" is probably what they're thinking. . .

Amanda from Seattle said...

I thought the bonjour bipeds, would be "hello hikers" :-)

and "bon courage" is like "You go, Girl!" (or boy as the case may be)
;-)