Le Chemin de St Jacques – Going South

Le Chemin  St Jacques - colorful house

Things have changed on Le Chemin de St. Jacques , as I move south. Yes, the 12th century churches are still in every village. But the countryside is now filled with corn fields for silage. No more vineyards. The blackberries have dried up. But I can still score a fig now and then.

Le Chemin de St Jacques - churchI have seen the Pyrenees in the distance. The jagged mountains which form the boundary between France and Spain are like a thin pencil line. At this point, there’s no point trying to take a picture of them with my camera. But they’ve become a constant presence.

I’m in the department Pyrenee-Atlantique but in the Bearn area (nothing to do with Bern, Switzerland) but I’m plodding toward the Pays Basque. The houses are different, more colorful in their shutters. And every house has shutters to keep out the sun.

Le Chemin seems to be more important to the locals here. It’s always been well-blazed with white and red horizontal lines. But here the signs have shells, colorful markers. Now and then, even a work of art, like this tree for pilgrims.

Le Chemin de St Jacques - Arbre de Pelerins

After a week or so of fall weather, the sun and midday heat has come back with a vengeance. Maybe it’s random or maybe it’s because i keep heading south.

By now I can converse with anyone about almost anything. Our fast-food diet interests the French much more than our foreign policy.

“Americans don’t cook. right? They just go to Macdo.”

But I still have problems participating in a free-for-all discussion with several people speaking at once. But the locals have thicker accents and I’ve heard some Spanish. So now that I’m getting better, the conditions are changing.

Like I said, I’m heading south.


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