Our plan was to drive down to Biarritz airport on Friday morning and park. Then we planned to take the bus to Bayonne, stay the night in town and leave early Saturday morning to start walking our Camino Baztan.
This was our plan right up until Wednesday. Then the plan changed.
I have three passions in life… it’s not exclusive, I love doing lots of things… but I have three real passions; my family and loved ones that share my world of course, then music and walking. I try to create gaps in my singing calendar to ensure that I can squeeze in time to feed my walking passion. I have to be careful though because I sing in two bands and its not totally fair on the others if I take 7 weeks off to go walking! But the summer is a busy crazy schedule for us all and a week off in August is good for everyone… and I was planning on walking the Baztan with Gerry!
So what happened? What would you have done? The band had a phone call on Wednesday. We could possibly take 33 bookings (possibly more) in 2018 if we could make an audition on Friday in Bordeaux. Why Friday? Why this week? I’m going walking? I have a plan? It’s not fair?! But, the bookings manager would be free on Friday… it was up to us.
Gerry and I tried to replan and reschedule… could we drive down to Bayonne on Saturday and start walking at midday? Maybe we could just miss a section? But where would we leave the car? We tried to find accommodation, if we could book a bed then it wouldn’t matter if we arrived late? And of course every hotel was booked. We spent an hour or two trying to figure out how we could still walk, do the audition and get me home next Friday for a big wedding gig on Saturday. We couldn’t and I had to choose. The audition was just too important to miss. The good news is we got the gig… but for this year at least I lost the Camino Baztan.
However, all was not lost. We booked a small studio in the centre of Condom. This very pretty little town is nestled in the heart of Gascony in south west France and is a stopover on the Le Puy route. Nearby are three Beaux Villages de France… and these beautiful little villages always have walks around them. It may not be a camino but we can still walk.
It’s Sunday and we got up later than planned. Gerry went shopping for fresh croissants and we caught up with correspondance and read the papers and basically ended up leaving very late for a walk around Condom. But the map said only 12km so we weren’t worried.
We started at at 1:30 and the sun was high in the sky… no worries we thought happily, we’ll be back in three hours and we can have a swim. We walked through rolling countryside, the sunflowers now finished and their heads bent, the grapes ripening on the vines, purple plums laying where they fell, littering the paths and sweet figs ready to pick in the late summer sun. It was a glorious walk but oooh it was hot.
My new shoes that I thought were going to work for me starting creating hotspots so we stopped and I taped my heels. We started again but with brollies… after the Via last year Gerry decided he should buy a UV umbrella too. At first he was going to call his Rhianna, I suggested Bert but that was the name of his first cat, so he opted for Percy.
As we wandered along in the shade, the wind picked up and created a mini dust devil over the fields. The recently cut hay flew up in the sky and blew around in the air and I was reminded of another walk and my dancing plastic sheet… that was a hot day too. So we walked on lost in our own thoughts… mine were back in the hot flatland before Merida some 800km from Santiago. I miss the Via de la Plata and I yearn to walk it again one day… what a great adventure that was!
We reached the 13km mark and were puzzled. We should have finished? We hadn’t missed a marker and we were following the route on GPS? It can’t be far we thought. We’ll see the cathedral any minute. Nope!
At 16km we drank the last of our water. It really can’t be far now?! The GPS took us to a dead end that had been fenced off. We walked back a little to see if we missed a marker but we hadn’t. We walked on again but couldn’t get past the new fencing? As we searched an old chap came out to see why his dog was so excited… he told us the route had changed a few years ago when they added more vines (we were walking through the vineyards).
He pointed us in the right direction but before we left he gave us two big 2L bottles of water from his fridge… and armfuls of warm ripe mirabelles. Gerry kindly tucked the water (all 4kg of it) into my pack!! and we walked off in the right direction.
Nearly 19km later we rolled into town and stopped at the first bar!
I changed into my Teva’s at around 14km and that saved my feet… crikey we’re hot and tired. I think we’ll do another short walk tomorrow as well!