Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 22: The Bread Maker's Den

Dscn0939bSeptember 2: After waking up and packing up, I wandered back into town to pay my tab with the “Bread Maker.” I’ve started calling the man that instead of baker because it amuses me. Kind of like a Godfather kind of name. “The Bread Maker wants to see you now” being the last words you ever want to hear…

When I walked up to the shop, it was overflowing with young, loud and obnoxious boys, but nicely dressed including ties. One of them said something to me in French, laughing at my hair or my hat or something—I’m not sure since I didn’t understand French—but I’m pretty sure he was trying to be insulting. I told him, in English, that I didn’t know any French and hoped he’d leave me alone, but alas, he knew some English and asked me where I was from. I was tempted to ignore him, but went ahead and answered, and he got all excited about America saying that he wanted to go there to see an NBA game.

Really? If you can visit just one place in the entire United States, you’d choose an NBA game? I shook my head with sadness. When I told him I was from Seattle, they all got excited about the Seattle Supersoncis. “Supersonics!”

“Yeah, they don’t exist anymore,” I told them. They must not have gotten the news way out here in France.

True, they replied, but they had heard that Seattle was building a new stadium to bring back the Supersonics. I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how much they knew about the basketball shenanigans going on in Seattle. Not that I follow it very closely myself. If I didn’t live in Seattle, I wouldn’t have known anything about what they were talking about.

“Well,” I said, “that might happen, but it’s far from being a done deal.”

I finally worked my way into the Bread Maker’s establishment, and they waved me behind the counter into the back where a small table was set up for any hikers who wanted breakfast. I was just glad to be rid of the loud and obnoxious boys. In the back, another hiker was already eating breakfast and since she knew English, we chatted a bit. The bread making factory was in full production at this point. All sorts of interesting stuff to watch going on.

Dscn0940bI ate breakfast, paid my bill, and wandered back out to the Camino to start the day’s hike.

Most of the day, the trail followed pavement, which hikers complained about all day long. Even in French, I could tell they were complaining about the miles and miles of asphalt. At least the roads weren’t busy roads, and the views were fantastic.

The terrain started changing as well. For weeks, the trail was largely flat. Oh, sure, it went up and small small hills—barely wrinkles on an otherwise flat landscape—but it was now becoming significantly more hilly. The ups went up much larger hills, followed by long declines into valley bottoms. Not steep, but definitely not so flat anymore!

Late in the day, I arrived in the small town of Navarrenx where I stopped at an establishment to relax and kick off my shoes, killing time until it was late enough in the day to set up a campsite. I ordered a Coke so they wouldn’t chase me off as not being a customer and read my Kindle for an hour or so.

Then I paid my bill and headed out of town, camping in the woods just past Castetnau-Camblong. A very nice and quiet site!

The moon setting over the streets of Arthez-de-Bearn.

A spider catching the first morning sun along the camino.

A pilgrim rest area. =)

Crosses like this are still common on the trail,
but it seems like they’re aren’t nearly as many as
early on. Maybe I’m just not noticing them as
much. This one got my attention because
of how many precariously balanced rocks are on it!

The long arm of the shadow.

Walking out of Arthez-de-Bearn.

By far the most common type of litter I tend to see
are discarded cigarette packs. I’m a little fascinated
by the graphic photos on them, though. Apparently,
smoking not only causes giant, red growths on your neck,
but also causes ugly mustaches!

Another church, another cemetery, and another potable water source.
I still haven’t given up in proving Maria wrong! =)

I took this while crossing a bridge over railroad tracks.

A pretty little river outside of Maslaco.

I found these ruins oddly interesting. *shrug*

Apparently, this is one of the largest natural gas works in France.
It certainly was quite a site to see from a distance!

Up and over a mountain pass.

This is more representative of the terrain today. The trail
will do down into a valley then up to the next ridge you
see in the distance.

A rest area for hikers along the trail—with potable water!

This creepy guy is supposed to be a pilgrim. Not sure
which one, but a lot of people left him notes. (Prayers? Dreams?)

Cool! Brochures in English! Yeah, okay, British English,
but I can still read British English pretty well. I was a little
disappointed that it had no information about the history
of the area. Just spiritual stuff about how the world
revolves around God and lots of Bible verses.

A nice sample of today’s downhill hikes. Onto the next ridge!

And uphill again….


Over the river and through the towns….

And even a little underground action going on! Completely unnecessary,
though. The road it crosses wasn’t very busy at all, and not a
single car passed by it during the time I could see it.

Sitting around, drinking a Coke, waiting for the day to pass away…

The busy streets of Navarrenx.


I just love these towers!

The trail crosses this bridge on the way out of Navarrenx.

Looks too small to be a chapel, but I’m not sure what else
to call it.

The mean streets of Castetnau-Camblong.

Just as a technicality, regardless of your views on religion,
I read that they didn’t really crucify people like this.
If they hammered a nail into your hand like that, it could slide
out from between the bones of your fingers and have the
poor guy flop face down. So in real life, they
would stab you in the forearm, just below the wrist, between
the two bones there (I don’t know what they’re called)
which would help hold the condemned person in place
securely for long period of time.


Anne Bonny said...

Those towers are awesome! Could you go inside them? I don't think I'd travel very fast, the scenery is too pretty!

Steve, Christa, Emily, Meghan, Charles & Elizabeth said...

The bones in the forearm are the radius and ulna.

Michael Merino said...

To think, Ryan is actually 6 weeks ahead of where he is describing today. I wonder where he is at now?

Ryan said...

Anne--I didn't try to go inside the towers. I'm not sure if people can go in them. Maybe? =)

Hey, Michael! I just arrived in SLO yesterday afternoon. =)

-- Ryan