The Call of the Camino


It’s difficult to make small talk in a language your not competent in, especially if you are the only one in the room naked, except for one of those flimsy ill fitting hospital gowns. Sometime in the last month or so, I hyperextended my arm, innocuously reaching into my pannier. Since then, I have developed pain in my right arm that has increasingly gotten worse.

I thought a trip to the Physiotherapist might help, but they explained I needed a referral from a doctor and suggested I go to the hospital up the road.A simple process, I thought. But… Many questions, followed by a thorough medical examination and X-rays. I am now on medication with my arm in a sling.

“How long?” I asked the Doctor hopefully.
He shrugged his shoulders: “A week, a month,only your body knows!”

So we are holed up here in Ares, a small seaside village not far from Bordeaux, relaxing and enjoying the small town vibe of rural, seaside France. I could think of worse places to have a break. It’s a bit like the Jacques Tati movie- Monsieur Hulot’s holiday.

Reflecting on our seven months on the road, we have traveled almost 10,000 kilometres, through a dozen countries, had a few close calls with crazy drivers, fallen off our bikes , been abused by pedestrians, stung by bees and wasps, bitten by fire ants, attacked by birds, chased by dogs, had a raccoon steal my pannier and been stopped by police. We have cycled, flown, ferried and cruised. I’ve met many wonderful people and a few sketchy ones. In short, it’s been an adventure. We have been witness to many wonderful sights; man made and natural.

Lately, as we have been cycling along the French coast we have shared the path with those pilgrims undertaking the Sentier de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle a French Pilgrimage route, that joins the Camino Santiago De Compostela in Spain. Some pilgrims are starry eyed friends of Jesus, others have their own reasons for undertaking the pilgrimage. Only recently, did we realise that we had been following the costal pilgrimage route along the Atlantic Coast since Ireland.

I keep meeting people who have completed the pilgrimage are on it or planning to do it. We seem drawn to the pilgrimage. In Nantes a young Scottish touring cyclist Stuart gave us a book on the Camino and on the trail I met Gary, who had been in the British Navy for 30 years but was now undertaking cycling the Camino. He talked of its mysterious effect on those who completed the journey.

So body and bikes willing, we shall cycle the Camino all the way to Santiago de Compostela and then perhaps, go on to Finisterre in Portugal. It was the end of the world in Pagan times. Traditionally, people undertook this journey on foot or on horseback, we shall be upon our iron horses!

A stroke of good fortune favoured us yesterday. After a lovely day walking the streets of beautiful Bordeaux, we went in the boulangerie (bakery) to buy a baguette. When attempting to pay for our daily bread, I realised in horror, that I had left my wallet on the bus from Bordeaux. As I was about to contact the bank to cancel all my cards and kiss goodbye about 200€, Therese, thinking quickly, explained our situation to Julie, who’d been helpful to us previously at the local Tourist Bureau. Julie then phoned the bus company on our behalf and the bus driver had found my wallet.

We arrived at the depot as the driver completed his shift, I offered him some money to buy a beer and he refused any reward: “It’s my job! Enjoy your holiday.”

Gotta love France.


Categories: UK and Europe 2015, World tour 2015Tags: , ,

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