There was always a rough plan in place that I would start the Arles Camino with Mary Rose Ramsden from Mackay. She is pretty fit and has strong knees. On the other hand I am never particularly fit and have dodgy knees. So it was always going to be one day at a time and see how we go. It still is
Well, I think that we are at about the 225 km mark … day 12 today and so far I have only missed one 24 km day. Which I have to admit I was very disappointed with but my feet were just too sore so John went in my place for the day so that MR could keep going.
I have to say that I am really enjoying it but after days like today … 26 km … 16 km ‘up’ 600 metres and 10 kms down 400 metres. 8 hours in total, I am exhausted. However, I am getting stronger and cope really well with the uphill but my knees get hammered on the down so I have to go really slowly. MR has been fantastic and is very patient with me on the downhill. Bloody St Jacque always manages to throw in 500 metres to 1 km of dodgy rocky slate downhill at the end of every day … just when you have had enough and think you are nearly finished!
The first five nights we had a friend, Andrew Martin, staying with us in the van so John spent his days doing things with Andrew. He also had to find somewhere to order the new hatch for the bathroom that blew off in Arles.
Andrew was a lovely guest and we all enjoyed his company.
So how it works is that MR and I head off each morning and her lovely husband Bruce … the kindest man in the world! … meets us at the end of each day where we finish. For the first five days John was quite often late and would meet us where ever Bruce found for us to stay for the night. Now he is there waiting for me as well. Actually, he has started walking backwards on the track and grabbing my backpack. I was pretty happy that he did that today because the last bit of downhill was a nightmare!
During the day the boys do jobs. Today John went to a laundromat and did the washing. He also does the shopping and usually hand washes my clothes. I am pretty impressed with him I can tell you. We take turns to cook each night and we eat together. Although MR and Bruce have cooked several more meals than we have.
These are the photos from the first day’s walk which was 20.2 km and we spent the night at a beautiful vineyard … one of the Passion France places that I told everyone about. First night’s stop was Saint Gilles.
The boys had a great time tasting the wines … I was lying on the bed nearly dead!