Since we knew today would be a scorcher, we took off before the sun was up and crossed the bridge to head out of Navarrenx. I couldn’t believe we only had two more days till St. Jean Pied de Port, a great feeling!
The morning was jam packed full of beautiful trails, some shown below…
After a good 2-3 hours of walking we came to the first pilgrim rest stop of the day where we were greeted by a friendly little dog that I wished I could have taken along with me on the Norte Camino…
While some dogs are very friendly and happy to see you others are not. I had more than one incidence where a dog almost attacked me. One dog came running at me from behind an open fence. I had no idea the dog was there until he was practically on top of me, barking ferociously and going for my legs, somehow I backed away in time and I was able to get away. Super scary. The French do not always keep their fierce dogs behind closed fences or indoors. Two pilgrim friends along the way were attacked and bitten by dogs, one had to stop his journey for a while to heal his wound. The dog owner was not apologetic and took no responsibility. Of course not all French dog owners behave this way.
Below is one of those dogs that looks friendly enough, but did not appreciate pilgrims walking by his house. Luckily he or she was not one to come chasing after pilgrims, but warned you not to come near with a scary growl.
After our friendly and not so friendly dog encounters, the rest of the day was spent dealing with the unbelievably hot sun. We came to a church that was just a bit off the main path, knowing that churches have cool rooms we went. Unfortunately the church wasn’t open, but there was a room just in front of the church that was in the shade allowing us to rest and cool down.
Just before leaving the church, I noticed a faucet by the fence, one in which if it was running, I could lay under and drench myself. Luckily water flowed freely out of it and I laid down underneath, completely drenching myself. It was the best decision I could have made. The next two hours were much more bearable. As soon as my clothes dried I was looking for the next place I could drench myself.
Along the way we encountered landes, where corncobs were drying…
Heading to Ostabat we came to the place where 3-pilgrim routes (Paris, Vezelay and Le Puy) in France meet. A statue has been erected in this spot.
The last part of the trail is up and over the hill into Ostabat, where most pilgrims spend their last night before proceeding to St. Jean Pied de Port.
We found a rare Gite with a pool, which was so needed after the long hot day! Many pilgrims were staying at this gite, ones we had not met before, and two that I had met before, a father and son from Canada. I had seen them on my very first day of my pilgrimage and then not until the 2nd to the last day, crazy how that happens!
We were now very much in the Basque French country. Our gite host and hostess made sure we knew they were Basque and made sure we knew all about their plight to become their own country. I didn’t understand most of what they said, but bilingual pilgrims informed me of what they were saying. That night we all had our last pilgrim meal in a gite, it wasn’t the best meal I had had along the journey, but one of the most fun meals along the journey…
Our host treated us to wine shots and sang Basque and Spanish songs to us :). He was a phenomenal singer and a bit of a preacher and probably could have preached less, but it was still a fun night with a great group of people.
After dinner we enjoyed the warm evening out on the deck, getting to know each other further. We also took in the view of the Pyrenees Mountains, just a short distance away!
Up next… St. Jean Pied de Port!!!