The walk was beginning to have a few more ups and downs along the 19K entire route from Pomps to Maslaq. This was stretching our muscles out again as we were starting to prepare for the walk over the Pyrennes. Although we couldn’t see them yet, it felt as if we were getting close and closer to our half way point to Santiago (over 1,000 miles walk).
The heat through todays walk was a gruelling 28 degrees again. To give you an idea of the impact of this heat, on a normal day you should really be drinking 1.5- 2 litres. Hiking, you should be drinking about 2-3 litres. In 28 degree heat, you should probably be getting closer to 4 litres. Which although there are multiple water points on the Camino, you still have to keep drinking. Even when you’re not thirsty. As the saying goes, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated! This is also exhausting and after a couple of weeks of walking in temperatures above 25 degrees, it was finally starting to take its toil on our body’s.
Walking through Castillion, there used to be a hospital for pilgrims and travelers in the 11th century. To coincide with this, there were a lot more pro- pilgrim things around. This continued to fuel the Magician’s and my excitement for getting to Spain. As if this was pro- pilgrims here, there must be a lot more in Spain on the exceptionally famous Camino de Frances.
On the second day we walked only Maslaq to Sauvelade. There were continued ups and downs all along the route with ruined buildings scattering the landscape. As the route today was mainly in the sunshine, so ended up staying in a gite early, as the 28 degree blistering weather was unbearable.
A little history lesson on Sauvelade! This town used to be part of a separate country called Béarn. This Church and Monastery was founded by Gaston IV of Béarn in 1128, but then sacked by the Hugunots in 1569. This was later restored in 1630, and sold at the time of the French revolution. The church was originally dedicated to St Mary, but this was later changed to St James (in recognition of the pilgrims who rested at the Abbey).
During the day we couldn’t hold our mounting excitement for the next day though. Where we would be arriving in Navarreux. Here there is a very famous Donativo. For those who haven’t read my previous post on what a Donativo is, it is a donations based place that people can stay at during the Camino. People can donate money, or time to look after the house, food etc. But its based on the idea of an exchange, to allow someone a place for the night. The person who runs the Donativo in Navarreux is called the Alchemist. This funnily enough isn’t names after the famous Paulo Ceolho book. He’s very specifically named himself the Alchemist, as he’s an Alchemist of words. He’s actually an ex- journalist, and up and down the Camino trail you’ll find these chalk boards with his sayings on them. And every time the Magician and I came to one, ironically exactly what he was saying, was what we’d just been talking about. It was like the Alchemist was reading our mind. You can see this as creepy or magical. Take your pick!!