Do not seek to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
Monique was joined last night by a friend whom she had met on a previous chemin. I have enjoyed walking with Monique, well, not walking exactly for we both preferred to walk alone, but meeting up with her at the gites in the evening. She is continuing to Oloron-Sainte-Marie. I wish her well.
The hospitalier at the gite had given us a copy of a google map with a highlighted route to Lourdes which was even shorter than the itinerary we had been given a couple of days ago at Saint Bertrand. He showed us the way out of town, and mentioned something about the equestrian centre.
I set out about half-past eight, passed the equestrian centre, and followed the only possible route. As I passed the lovely couple above, I wondered what you called a baby donkey. An asset?
I was a little uneasy when I seemed to be heading south-west instead of north, but there was no way I could have gone wrong. I climbed and climbed, and eventually ran into Monique and her friend who had left before me. We had indeed gone wrong, but a kind old man put us right and drove us back to the right road. He dropped me back at the equestrian centre where apparently I should have taken a road so insignificant that I wouldn't have noticed it unless I had been looking for it. Of course, I should have been looking for it, but our hospitalier had spoken so quickly that I hadn't understood.
To make up for lost time, for I had a train to catch, I decided to take the most direct route possible, even if it was along a busy road. I was racing along, and as I climbed a hill, I was passed by a couple of motor bikes. At the top was an ambulance with flashing lights, and I feared that one of the bikers had failed to make the turn. But no, it was an older man on his back on the road. The paramedics were working frantically on him, but to no avail. Perhaps he was a farmer who had stepped out onto the road and been hit by a car. A woman was sobbing nearby. So sudden, so unexpected. So many lives changed forever.
I wouldn't recommend this route, the D937, although it was certainly fast walking (5.4 kph), as the shoulder was narrow, and the traffic quite heavy, but I wanted to get to Lourdes to catch a train.
So I gave Lourdes short shrift, but from all I have heard, it wasn't my kind of town.
This was not my most enjoyable walk. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I was having to do too much road walking. Perhaps I was always rushing. Perhaps it was too hilly for me.
I leave you on a lighter note. I wish to apologize to all the dogs whom I have criticized for barking at me. Truth is, they only bark when they are in their yards. Often, when they are out walking with their master or mistresses, they come and greet me in a friendly fashion.
A couple of days ago, I was walking through a little village and ahead of me was a raised garden. Four dogs barked at me as I approached. As I walked passed the garden, a woman leaned over the wall and apologized on behalf of her dogs. The dogs put their front feet on the wall and looked down at me. They too looked contrite.
Tous les chiens aboient a moi
Je sais pourquoi ils aboient a moi
C'est parce qu'ils guardent leur territoire
Que tous les chiens aboient a moi