Marciac - Maubourguet
13 October 2002
Overall km: 149
Halfway to the Col du Somport, my gateway to Spain! This is the most ancient of the pilgrim routes to Compostela. Later, more pilgrim traffic flowed through an easier pass that opened up further north.
This is approximately mile 92.5. I have a total of approximately 301.5 km (187 miles) in France and 850 km (538 miles) in Spain for a grand total of 1,1151.5 km (715.5 miles) to walk this trip.
I was gifted with views of the Pyrenees this morning. The border still must be 70 km away, but they looked big anyway. In another week I crest the range and will need to look over my shoulder to see them.
The big news today is that I met another pilgrim and we hiked into town together. Rolf is Dutch and speaks pretty good English and some French. We made fantastic time but we split up here. He is going fairly far off route to stay at a gîte and to make tomorrow's hike into Morlaas a little shorter. I am staying here at the last accomodation on route to Morlass, the Hôtel du France. Our plans for the next few days are very similar so we will likely meet again. We have the same walking pace on this gentle terrain and we are flying down the trail at 4-5 km per hour. I will slow down dramatically probably when I enter the mountains. It is early in the trip for me, and I am not a long distance machine yet.
Rolf has been walking for about 900 km. He is at his personal halfway point right now. He originally was just out for a few weeks to hike with his friend but a few weeks back she had a change of heart about her mega european wandering to Compostela and went back home. He decided to do the whole distance but more direct. Now he is on the GR653 with me. I am the first pilgrim he has encountered.
Back to my immediate concerns. I have been screwed by small town France's schedule again. This morning on my hike out I stopped by a bakery and picked up a couple almond croissants and two chocolate pasteries for breakfast, but now those are long digested and unfortunately everything here but a couple bars has closed up. I cannot even find a place to buy sandwich ingredients for tonight and tomorrow. As I have heard, beer is liquid bread so I have decided to get my carbohydrate calories that way. I may still be hungry, but I will be happy.
Another happy note is that my boots and socks are drying outside my window. With a little luck I will start out the day totally dry although walking through dewy meadows changes that quickly.
In health related news, I am still a little sick and phlegmy, but it is not all that bad. My legs feel great and my feet are a little sore but that is to be expected. I have a few blisters so minor that I have not bothered to treat them or try to prevent more. My feet are actually pretty good. Even with a couple short days, I am averaging 21 km right from the start. I would be happy with an average of 25 km/day, and could probably be doing that now but accomodations along the chemin dictate distance in France. In Spain there should be an abundance and hopefully I can walk as much or as little as I want.
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