Friday, June 12, 2009

Day2: Asson to Arudy

We had a bit of a lie in this morning - just as well as Val & I were a bit tired as we had not slept that well. Syl had slept on a mattress on the floor, Val & I had slept on canvas stretchers and the cold had come through the stretchers so we had been rather cold the whole night. Never mind all part of the fun!
We had breakfast upstairs with Marie and Sebastien at 8.00am and were on the road by 8.30. We walked through quite a bit of forest easy paths on our feet, a lot of up and down hill and cow dung all over. All the trees and grass and ferns are so green, we must have seen every shade of green their is.
The day was overcast with a bit of sun coming out every now and again, no rain, not to hot and not to cold, just perfect walking weather.
We stopped for a picnic lunch of fruit and cheese at St. Colone - quite delicious.
We have enjoyed walking with Marie & Sebastain today. Our accomodation at Arudy is very comfortable, Syl, Val and myself in one section and Mary and Sebastain in another. We are staying in the priest´s house. We will all eat together this evening with the Priest.

Val - Minister of Nutrition......
We have breakfast upstairs with Marie and Sebastain - fruit and yoghurt - try to be good because most of what we get during the day or evening can be very heavy. But for lunch today we have fruit and brie - huge piece of brie for2.30 euro. By lunchtime, having been in the backpack for 2 hours it is just he perfect consisentcy. I think it will just be a matter of time before we start on the bread and pate and perhaps a glass of vino. On our way...oops...I´ve lost my stick - I must have left it in the cheese shop. We arrive at Arudy to crowds of people celebrating the 3rd day of their festival, we are told they have been drinking since 0900am and it shows. But lots of entertainment for the kids with a fair.
We get to our accommodation, wash our clothes and have some time lying on the bed with our legs elevated - heaven. No signal again on the cell phone so I relax with the ipod and Andrea Borcelli just about blocks out the noise outside.
After showering we decide to look around the festival, Sebastien comes bearing wine - he found it! Or so he says with a grin. The restaurants are closed so we can either snack in the streets or the Priest has left us food. We get a glass of wine from the outside bar, quite a mission because I ask for it in Spanish and then get quite irritated that he cannot understand me.
Mary comes bearing 2 huge bags of hot Churros - long thin hot doughnuts smothered in sugar - as we eat an elderly French woman sings to us(?!!). We ride on the local train around the village then we come across the dodgem cars...Sebastien and Marie go in one and Marion and I in the other..I am driver. Wonderful, you get to hit the car as many times as you like with no repairs...Marion and I get hit really hard and our bottoms are bruised the next day. We all go back to the Priest´s house and find bread, cheese and chirizo, and the ingredients for a Spanish Omelette - Sebastian cooks again! The Priest says he will be home around 8pm. Looking around the kitchen it is clear that the Priest appreciates good food and loves cooking. He has every appliance you can think of but don´t get the impression this is a gourmet kitchen, it is no more than a nook without even a space to put a coffee cup.
Around 8.20pm the Priest arrives home and introduces himself as simply Pierre. He is just 60 years old, a handsome man and well dressed. He immediately brings out glasses and a bottle, with a smile he points to the bottle and says "the Spirit of Christ" and pours us each a glass. It is strong but sweet and quite delicious. Then he announces that we have soup to start. A really good courgette soup - we ask him about the ingredients, because it is really good and there is a special taste we cannot quite work out. He lists the ingredients and then finally gets up to show us his Braun blender and announces that the special ingredient is cheese. I am disappointed as I know it will be a local cheese that I will not be able to get. Then from the fridge he shows us the French equivalent of a box of ´Happy Cow´triangles!
This is followed by Sebastians Spanish Omelette which he has turned out is browned on the outside but firm and moist inside...excellent served with salad and bread. More wine...Pierre tells Sebastian that we must try his local cheese...we must say it is good! It is indeed and he then shows us a whole one which he is maturing.
Pierre´s cat has had kittens but two died because the mother was unable to feed them. He has three left and has to supplement their feed with milk given from a bottle. Marie and I get the chance to feed them, it is so special. The evening was wonderful and despite the language barrier we all seemed to communicate. What a generous man to let us into his home, into his kitchen and share the evening with us.

Today we got ´tampons´(stamps in our pilgrim credentials) from Bruges and St Colome where we stopped for coffee and lunch. We arrived in Arudy to find the streets full of fun-fair merry-go-rounds and stalls. Marie found the house where we could get the key for the Accueil Paroissial au Presbyterre - home of the Parish Rectory and Father Pierre Sallenave - a wonderful priest who Sebastian later described as his kind of priest - one who lives with the people. This pilgrim refuge is donativo but when asked, he said that 5€ is the norm for the bed and also for the use of the kitchen and foods. We decided to give him 15€ each as well as a little yellow beaded arrow.
We are not living the pilgrim life exactly. We get up late and go to bed even later than we do at home! Tonight we didnñt get to bed until 10:35pm - unheard of for this peregrina. The noise of the fair didn´t really disturb us too much we were just too tired to hear it after the first 10 minutes!
To contact Fr Pierre for accommodation you can email him at:

1 comment:

santiago's walk said...

it's a pleasure for me informe you about the existence of a
"alternative" section of the Walk of Santiago in its stage:
THE ORIGINAL FRENCH'S WALK OF ST. JACQUES (Carrion de los Condes - Sahagun
troutgh Villada)
All informations about it can you find in our web: www.acaminosantiagovillada.

If the pilgrims wish sleep in a old castillian manor during the walk , we propose you a
only manor hotel in Castilla y Leon :

Bests Regards

Sandro Boniolo
Consultant of Associacion Antiguo Camino Frances de Santiago
E - 34340 Villada