Making distance: Nogaro to Aire-sur-l’Adour to Arzacq-Arraziguet to Arthez-de-Bearn to Navarrenx

After a rough afternoon and evening Wednesday spent recovering from whatever had gotten me sick, I woke up a little on the late side Thursday, but I was ready to eat and walk. Since I was staying in a hotel, breakfast included things I don’t usually see in gîtes — like meat — so I loaded up. By 8:30 am, I was ready to cover some distance — and also to be more aware of trail markings so that I didn’t repeat the mistake I made Tuesday.

Lily pads, although no flowers.
Long stretches of trail, including many farm roads.
More vineyards.

For my stay Thursday night, I reserved a bed in a former Ursuline chapel in Aire-sur-l’Adour. The former nave of the chapel was the gathering and dining area. I think where most of us slept was a former sacristy.

Altar of the former Ursuline chapel.
Ceiling of the dormitory, possibly a former sacristy.

The biggest surprise of the evening was hearing my name in the dormitory. It was Babar. Somehow I’d caught up to him again. We had a couple beers and chatted. He said it was the first time he’d ever had a beer in a church. I wasn’t sure I could say the same.

Approximate distance walked Thursday: 18.2 miles.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were a lot more of the same, all being longer days. I know it may sound crazy that a journey like this has a routine, but there is definitely a certain rhythm. Backpack is ready to go at first daylight, breakfast, and back on the trail again. Make a stop for water, snacks, or lunch if available. Arrive at the gîte, shower, take a nap, have a beer or two, eat dinner. Usually get in bed before dark. Repeat.

I spent a week walking in sweltering heat, and now a lake appears when I don’t need it.
Did you know there are cows in France? It’s true!
A bridge just for walkers. It was higher than it looks.
I often speak of France’s complicated relationship with the Catholic Church, but the upshot is random crucifixes in very public places.
A cow staring at you isn’t a big deal … until you realize it’s on the wrong side of the fence. It ran away from me, and then it ran toward me. It sounds hilarious to be charged by a cow … until it happens to you.
News flash: France also has sheep.
Beautiful weather, beautiful view.
If you squint, the Pyrenees come into view in the distance. Getting closer!
Worst ever use of a holy water font. This wasn’t a closed church, by the way. They could have filled the font with, you know, holy water.
I could have used an attack cat when I was being charged by a cow.

Approximate distance walked Friday: 21.1 miles.

Approximate distance walked Saturday: 19.3 miles.

Approximate distance walked Sunday: 20.0 miles.