Stage 4: Oloron to l’Hospital St. Blaise – 23.2km, total time 6:27 hrs

This stage was done entirely on the Camino trail, which means that the straight line is not the most obvious connection between two places. Still I have hard time to remember that the trail goes from church to church and at each road junction there is a mark often in the shape of a cross or a small chapel to indicate the correct way, which in most cases is useful for thanking God for being still alive with a short prayer. In those times with no GPS, the home beacon was the church bell tower, and no other building wad allowed to be taller than the bell tower, so that wanderers could see it from afar.

image

The trail has been partially on flat land, growin corn as far as sight can go.   The trail is on a paved commuting road between rural villages and was relatively easy to keep a good average speed despite the fierce sunshine and hot temp (31 degrees!). The tough part came later when the trail continued on a forested hillside with continuous up and downs. Even if the highest hill was probably not more than 300m, the total elevation done recorded in my GPS was more than 1700m!

Even if it was killing my legs, the wooded path was very charming through magnificent trees and with plenty of quiet streams.

image

I had almost finished my water supply, and despite the fact that I usually do not drink much water, I felt my determination falter in few occasions. I kept repeating to me that every minute was taking me closer to the destination. In facts, as soon as the beautiful church of St-Blaise appeared after one last turn of the path, all my strength came back at once.

image

image

image

This church is dated back to the XII century and was rapidly becoming a key resting place for pilgrims on the road to Santiago. The “hopital” was in facts the refuge for the pilgrim and probably at that time it was at a building situated on the side of the church.

I entered the church and sat down thankfully. Probably I was not smelling of flowers, since a couple of other visitors moved off two benches from me. Nonetheless, the charming and pretty village hostess, who was managing the reception desk in the tiny church offered me a big smile and the passcode to access the new and modern hostel situated not so far away.

I slowly dragged my bones for the last 100 meters to find a surprisingly neat accommodation, including fresh water in the fridge and some food the hostess prepared for the guests, all for a meagre 13 euros.

image

image

image

So far I am the only guest, so I could use the whole facility for a long overdue shower, and for washing my laundry.

image

Now I am sitting at one of the two restaurants waiting for l’Assiette du Pelerin, consisting on a potpourri of salad, fried egg over a pork cutlet, fries, and rockmelon. Probably pilgrims are so hungry they can devour anything the cook decides to prepare. Honestly I was quite happy about the look and the taste.

image

Unfortunately there is no WiFi available anywhere, so the gentle hostess offered me some time on her desktop PC to update at least the Facebook status. This chronicle of the 4th day, will be stored on my phone and will be published at the best opportunity.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s