I am hobbling around at the gite, having spent the last three hours walking 15 kms along the highway. I had taken another wrong turn! Of the three of us who set out this morning only two have arrived.
Last night I met a 77-year-old, Didier, who was doing his seventh Camino, always the same one, Arles to Santiago, because it was the one he could remember. He said that this was his last one.
I left Saint-Guilhem by the Rue du bout du monde. How apt as it turned out! The climb was perhaps the most spectacular and most difficult I have ever done. It took me four hours in all. Finally, I arrived at a microwave tower on the highest peak in the area.
I thought to myself that Didier will never make this climb.
At least 20 people die each year on the Camino in Spain, and I imagine some die in France as well. Those of us who complete the journey spend less time in Purgatory, but if you die on the way, you go straight to heaven. I'm sure that is on Didier's mind.
How glad I am to have worn my leather boots! A couple of days ago i walked through a stream, and today, on the stony paths and rocky slopes, they made the rough places plain.
A word about boots. What to wear: heavy leather or lighter boots? For 15 years I wore a pair of Zamberlans and when they finally gave up the ghost, I bought a pair of Meindels.
The guides suggest you give up your clunkers and wear something light.
So for this trip I bought a pair of Keene mid Targas. Very, very comfortable, but they were almost worn out after walking around town for a year. Would they last the Camino? I was tempted to buy another pair or something similar, but at the last minute I decided to go with leather and bought a pair of Asolos. So far they have served me well.
Lighter boots are more comfortable and I'm sure they don't weigh you down at the end of the day as my Asolos do. But I have more support, no blisters, and the assurance that they'll last the distance.
As I downed a beer at a bar in Lodeve after pounding the pavement for 15 kms, one of my companions, Renee, from the night before saw me and was able to direct me to the gite. All's well that ends well! However, his friend has not appeared and has obviously taken the wrong route.