Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 1 Lourdes to Asson

 The walk from Lourdes to Asson was spectacular!  But let me begin by giving you directions for getting onto the Camino from Lourdes.

When in Lourdes you will understand clearly what people mean when they say the Cathedral with the crown. You cannot miss it.

So... Go to the right of the Cathedral with the crown. 
Go past the grotto. 
Go past where people burn their candles. 
Go past the baths.
 Just keep walking on that main path until it dead ends at a chain link fence 
and you will step out of the facility onto a main road.
If you look to the right you will see an intersection.
 Do NOT go right.

Go LEFT up and around a small hill walking on the roadside. 
It is a narrow shoulder.
Hug it.
Soon you will see a camping place across the street on your right,
and right before it (on the right)
 is a trail going down alongside the camping facility. 
It is marked. 
You are on the Camino!

These are the marks you will follow until you begin seeing the yellow arrows.

The walk was beautiful.
I am going to post some photos for you.
Sometimes the road will split. Watch for the red/white marks.

When you see this church, pay attention

Confusing? Yes!
 Ok.. See that fountain behind Joe? 
That is a landmark.
When we walked by this, 
there were a group of people on horseback blocking it completely, 
so we walked right past it. 
We got to the edge of the village and realized we must have missed our turn, so we backtracked.

It is right across the street from the Church. 
Here you must take a sharp LEFT 
and go over the bridge and down to continue the Camino.

At the bottom of the bridge, turn right and you're back on the trail.

There are several places where the trail splits 
and sometimes the tree branches hide the red/white mark
so you have to stay aware of where you are going.

After a long morning walk,
we took a break for lunch.
While we were eating,
a taxi came by... the only car in sight for hours.
He asked us if we'd like a free lift to the next town,
and we readily accepted!

Near Bettheram is a Stations of the Cross 
that required such a climb I think the point was to make you feel Christ's pain!
Here are some photos:

Here I am looking UP the hill we will climb.

 After climbing up up up each section, 
you arrive at a small casa
and inside is one of the Stations of the Cross.

The climb is NOT easy,
or at least was not for me.
It was, however, beautiful.

When you reach the top...

you find a life sized crucification scene. 

And luckily,
you also find signs 
telling you which way to go from here!

 We arrived at Asson after making reservations 2 months earlier
 and calling the night before only to find confusion about who had reservations. 
 There was a group of four German pilgrims who had reserved the same 2 beds! 

 We happened to arrive first and luckily 
I had a printout of the lady's email to me so we got the room.

The German men slept downstairs on mattresses and cots. 
I suggest you confirm reservations at this tiny place 
using perfect French
and bring a hard copy if your reservation.

 Another tip. 
The lady returned about an hour after checking us in 
and insisted I had only paid her 10 euros (the price is 10 euros per person). 
Luckily one of the German pilgrims had seen me pay her! 
 From this point on I will ask for a receipt 
even if it just a signature in my journal.

 This Albergue is very clean. 
There is a stove, fridge, nice hot shower and toilet.
 If you don't mind sleeping in the big room downstairs 
you will need a sleeping bag and mat. 

 The local bar serves a dinner for 12 euros. 
We bought a can of local cassoulet and put it over pasta. 
With local sheep cheese and inexpensive wine we feasted 
and slept quite well.


  1. I love those tins of cassoulet you can buy in French supermarkets.Very filling and comforting food. I have been known to bring them home on my bike!
    It odes sound pretty cold and miserable at he moment. It's much the same here in East Anglia. The forecast is for better weather soon, hopefully for you too.

    I have looked up getting to Holland on a ferry with my bike - not too expensive so I might be brave and join you with my tent.

  2. I'm so sorry it did not work out. By the time we got to the Pelgrimspad I was totally burned out on rain rain rain and being sick. Maybe next time...


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