Arcachon and its Sand Dune

Arcachon is a popular bathing location on the Atlantic coast 55 kilometres (34 mi) southwest of Bordeaux in the Landes forest. It has a fine beach and a mild climate said to be favourable for invalids suffering from pulmonary complaints (good for my current bronchitis!).

We took a three hour boat ride to see the lagoon and the sand dune. The lagoon is surrounded by small fishing villages and spas.

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These are oyster parks. Delimited by these sticks, oysters parks allow the regulated farming of these sought-after delicacies.

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At its southern entrance from the Atlantic ocean Arcachon Bay is crowned by Europe’s largest sand dune, the Dune du Pyla ‘or Pilat). It is nearly 3 kilometres long, 500 metres wide, reaching 107 metres in height, and moving inland at rate of 5 metres a year.

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This beautiful area was a great choice for our visit.

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Tomorrow we make our way to our friends Marie-Jo and Patrick for an overnight stay. Marie-Jo will drive us to Jean and Nestor to start our Camino.
Cheers from France
Sylvie

The beautiful city of Bordeaux

Danièle and I took a city tour of this beautiful old city. It was quite chilly, even for me but we managed to find bus seats shielded from the wind, therefore most of my pictures are taken through the front glass of the bus.

This enormous reflective pool was completed in 2006 and is located along the river banks of the Garonne. it is a giant rectangle of ½ thick water. Just enough water over a black granite plaza to create a surface large enough to reflect the entire 18th century Stock Exchange building (Now home to the Chamber of Commerce).

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In the background you see the old bridge named Pont de Pierre. It numbers 17 arches to correspond to the number of letters in Napoleon Bonaparte’s name.

Here you see La Grosse Cloche (The big clock) the oldest door of Bordeaux. Pilgrims walking on the Camino road to Santiago pass through this old portal.

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In the Place des Quinconces stands an enormous fountain La Fontaine des Girondins. In 1943 it was dismantled and hidden as the Germans wanted to melt it for its metal; It was later rebuilt but the famous Horses were only re-added in 1982.

statue

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The flowers are in full bloom in France. In a central garden I discovered beautiful poppies in various colours. Danièle poses in front of the blooms.

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Lastly a few gourmet surprises. These are called macarons – colourful treats found in many chocolateries. I haven*t tried them but they sure look delicious.

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Cotton candy is not new to us, but flavoured cotton candy is! Look at all these interesting flavours.

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Tomorrow we visit Arcachon and the sand dunes.
Cheers from France

First Glance of France – Saint Médard D’eyrans

Greetings everyone
My first few days in France were wonderful. I am in Saint Médard D’eyrans, about 20 kms from the city of Bordeaux. My friend Danièle took me for a ride around the village.

My favorite new discovery happened in the local cemetary. It is quite different from those I have seen before. See for yourselves!

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On the slates, family and friends place specially made plaques for their departed loved ones. The one on the left is for Danièle’s late husband Pascal.

Note the ceramic flowers, they are quite common in France.

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As expected, there is an abundance of grape vines everywhere you look. It is quite beautiful to see lots of green grass, full trees and gorgeous flowers. My trip fro, Montreal went well and after 30 hours without sleep, I was happy to settle down for a few resting days before our departure for the Camino.
Cheers from, France
Sylvie

On a wing and a prayer

wing and a prayer

Typically when we hear the expression “On a wing and a prayer” it is not a good sign. It means a slight chance of success based mainly on hope. In my case, on a wing and prayer means the opposite – it means I’ve actually geared myself with positive ways to ensure a safe and successful Camino.

“How so?” you may ask – The wing, as seen on my boot is actually one of a pair of wings to add to shoes or boots, and perhaps this will give me more “lift” for the days of challenged walking. These fun whimsical wings are a craft item created by Laura Twiss, one of Meagan’s friends. I think these are just adorable and will be a fun cheerful addition to my boots!

The prayers will be abundant on the Camino. Last Camino, I had in my possession my father’s rosary. For this upcoming Camino I will have this memento with me at all times. The Camino can be religious and spiritual, and in my case, it will be spiritual with some good memories of my younger years in church.

I am more prepared this time around, and as I slowly pack my belongings and spend my last few days before my departure spending time with family and friends, I know I am going to experience amazing days with friends, with Nestor the donkey, with nature and with my thoughts.

In life, regardless of the situation, there are always positive and negative ways to see things. I choose to be positive, I choose to give the benefit of the doubt, I choose to rejoice in the good, and I choose to smile. It’s not always easy, and in some cases, the positive takes a long time to find, but overall, I believe that although we do not always choose what happens to us, we ALWAYS choose how we react.

So let me leave on a wing (or two) a prayer (or hundreds) – It will all be good, it will all be amazing and it will all be… magical!
Life is grand!

Leave it behind

Leave it behind

Leave it behind

During my first Camino, I chanced upon this message, a mere hundred or so meters after the famous Cruz de Ferro (Iron cross), a very important symbolic location on the route. Pilgrims are encouraged to bring a rock or memento from home and leave it at the Cruz de Ferro as a symbol of leaving your troubles behind.

When I set foot on April 23rd to begin my second Camino, I will have left it all behind. All the potential little concerns of life, all the details of the day-to-day, all the distractions and all the potential angst related to the status of my feet. Everything will be left behind with the idea that I trust, yes TRUST, that the Camino will provide.

Many of you have shared with me of your concerns with my ongoing feet challenge. Please know that this Camino is as important if not more than my first Camino and I would not risk anything that could keep me from getting to Santiago in time for my volunteering work.

I have so many options in regards to any potential slow down caused by my feet needing some TLC, rest or attention. I know how important our feet are, especially when undertaking an 800 km walk! I can say with true honesty “I’ve been there, done that, got the shirt”.

I will be leaving any worries behind when I walk on that plane in a few weeks. I want you all to also leave any concerns you have for my safety, health and wellbeing BEHIND as well.

Trust that I will not take any unnecessary risks, remember that I will be surrounded by friends and Nestor (he could always carry my pack if need be!) and that my aim is to enjoy this Camino at a much more leisurely pace than my last Camino.

I want to start my journey with nothing but positive energy and an open heart and mind.
So feel free to send positive thoughts, vibes and messages! All of these would be greatly appreciated and welcomed!
Cheers from a very excited pilgrim!