Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Day 24. June 29, 2014. Moulin des Baronnies to Bagneres de Bigores. 22kms

Ah, love, let us be true 
To one another! 

It was a gradual climb for most of the morning through lonely little villages in the hills. I passed several old mills and marvelled at the innocence and simplicity of harnessing water power to drive machinery. Until the invention of the steam engine we lived in harmony with our planet. Later, the road became steeper until eventually I passed through the Col de Palomieres at 810 metres, having climbed about 1500 feet from our campsite.

It was quite wild at the top, and lonely, but for a rather posh and popular restaurant, where I popped in for a salade tomate. For the first time on this walk, I was cold.

And then down again into the valley, with the GR providing a more direct route for a change, and along the river to the town of Bagneres de Bigorre.

We are staying tonight at the Accueil Notre Dame, a rather dilapidated industrial building which is soon to be refurbished.

Bagneres is fair-sized town, the first opportunity in several days to stock up on supplies. No restaurants were open on Sunday night, but I was directed to the casino for a meal. I suspected that other restaurants were closed because they couldn't compete.

The menu at 14 € began with a complimentary glass of champagne. What a nice touch! And then a salad, duck steaks, and strawberry ice cream. As the French say, It was correct.

I will arrive in Lourdes tomorrow, where I must stop. I have run out of time.

I have just learned that an old friend, David Riesen, has died, the third great teacher-colleague-friend to go in recent times. He was well  respected in his church, in the Mennonite community at large, in the city of Winnipeg, and further afield, and much will have been written and spoken about him. I travelled with him, and we had many a glass of wine or brandy together. I am sad that I will not have the chance to do that again. Some people make other lives richer. David was one of those people.

He was a Christian, but he never once mentioned Jesus to me. I have known Christians who manage to squeeze Jesus into every sentence, and do their faith no credit, but David was silent on the subject. He lived his faith, and by his example made agnostics like me keep an open mind. Farewell, David.

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