I left early morning with Monica from Sweden. We found the trail quickly and as we walked through the farms filled with sunflowers and melons, we noticed a new Camino shell sign next to the red and white striped way markers. We imagined that since we were getting closer to the Camino Frances that the signage might reflect that. From time to time you will see different signs, but the red and white stripes will always be present on this journey. So we really didn’t think much about the shell signs till we started wondering why we weren’t seeing any villages about 5K into our journey. We were meant to pass a village 5K in, we kept walking thinking that possibly the village was off the trail, as sometimes they are, and that we missed it. Three kilometers later we saw a village ahead and thought the Michelin map-book must have been off by a few kilometers, however when we reached the village it was not the one in our map book. We discovered that this town was about 7K in the wrong direction, we had headed South instead of West on a different Camino trail, which still confuses me.
We were in no mood to walk back to the last village and start our day over, so we walked to the closest road and stuck our thumbs out. Luckily a gentleman pulled over and picked us up. We jammed into his pick-up truck and were dropped off five minutes later at the main road. Our thumbs came out again. It took about 10 minutes before a nice women pulled over and threw our packs in her trunk. Unlike our clothes and shoes, her car was new and clean. I felt bad for her clean seats and clean floor mats as they would need a thorough cleaning after we left. She was so nice that she wouldn’t even except any cash from us.
We finally arrived in the town called Condom. And no, the name does not mean the same in French as it does in English, but as you probably could imagine the town was the butt of many pilgrim jokes. Condom’s cathedral, like many churches in Europe, was one with beautiful architecture and hard seats of course!
We came across another market day where not just farm fresh produce was being sold, but clothing, pigs, hand bags and more! It turned out that it was the day before a national holiday, called Bastille Day. This meant we had better stock up on food as most likely stores would be closed the next day.
After a nice break from our morning fiasco, Monica and I headed out of town and back on the trail to our final destination of the day, Montreal. The day that had started out with rain was ending up to be a beautiful sunny day. When the sun came out the fields became all that more vibrant. Walking along we saw more fields of sunflowers yet to bloom, fields of grapes, melons, corn and more.
We finally arrived in Montreal and walked straight past this new part of town…
and on to the old part of town…
The first gite we came to was fully booked and for the first time we were a bit worried that we may not find a place to stay. I had been getting by without reserving ahead of time and trusted that I would always find a place to sleep. Luckily that evening was no different, we eventually found a great place to stay which served a pilgrims dinner where the pilgrims staying at the gite get to eat a 3-4 course meal together for a cost of course. I always enjoyed these meals and the dinner conversations even though I didn’t always understand them, the meals and new Camino friends are well worth the small fee 🙂
Next up… the town of Eauze and Nogaro.