26 April, 2012
It was raining as we left the gite. I had to don all my rain gear, jacket, pants, and pack cover, but a little later it stopped, so I had to take it all off again.
It was misty then overcast this morning, and the mournful cooing of the cuckoos and doves seemed to overwhelm the more cheerful sounds of the songbirds.
The call of the dove, coo coo, coo, a three-note call, is the call that I remember from childhood in Perth. I think that we have doves in Victoria, but not with the same call.
We passed a very serious pilgrim going in the other direction - to Rome. He had more than 2,200 kms and two months to walk. He was just starting out.
In the afternoon it lightened up, and we walked through a forest, around the outskirts of Pau, along a river into Lescar, and and then climbed up to the cathedral to find our gite.
The cathedral is magnificent. Romanesque, it sits firmly on the ground in its light brown stone, broad and solid.
In the cathedral, I noticed that 53 soldiers from this town had died in the First World War. In every village, we pass the Monument aux Morts. Even the smallest hamlet gave up a large proportion of its young men.
I left my American-European adapter at the last gite. So that I could continue to charge my phone and receive calls from my loving wife, I walked two or three kilometres out of town to the big box stores and bought another adapter.
A man dropped by our gite wondering if he could help us in any way. He kindly took my new adapter and cut off the top with his saw so it could receive my phone plug. He also found us a restaurant and drove us there, making two trips in his car. It was another generous act!
We ate in a huge barn of a place. It was a cider house, and we drank cider instead of wine as it was included in the price. The meal sat heavily in my stomach.
I have developed a case of shin splints in one leg. The same thing happened in Spain after the same number of days of walking. I think I just walked it off, and I hope I can do the same with this bout.