Le Barp to Moustey
Friday 24 October
Sometimes I can be a lazy pilgrim. I am a night owl, not a lark. Overnight the temperature dropped, and for the first time had my sleeping bag zipped up all the way, all night. I wasn’t getting out of bed until it warmed up. The others had left, or were ready to leave when I rose. We had been invited to the gentleman’s from the church house for coffee, but I had said I would not go early, but would drop in later. I had bought some eggs at the supermarket and cooked them for breakfast. It was my first time to have eggs for breakfast in France. In Indonesia they are hard to avoid… and I eat them almost every day. I was a welcome change from bread.
I eventually packed up and left about 11.30, went around to say goodbye, and rode towards Belin-Beliet, the next town on the map. On the way I passed two of the pilgrims from last night, and bid then Buen Camino. It was lunch time by the time I was in the small town, and as it was Friday, was hoping fish would be on the menu somewhere rather than the usual beef. I turned off the main road, and saw a small Resturant with a lunch menu. They had two choices for main – beef or something else… Google translate came up with ray, so it was fish. I parked my bike, and went in. I asked if they spoke English, and the very enthusiastic host, spoke very fluently. She asked me what bought me to her small town, and I said I was a pilgrim on St Jacque de Compostelle. She said I was the first one on a bike she had met. We had a very interesting conversation – she used to live in the Caribbean and work on boats, and was interested in my life in Indonesia. She asked had I visited the Templar churches nearby, apparently there are two. I said I had visited one… and described it, she said I should visit the other one too, although they are almost identical, the other one had a ‘magic fountain’ in the woods behind it. A magic fountain! Now that was worth seeing. It would be an hours detour return, but I had time for magic. She helped me search google maps for directions, but it couldn’t be found… a secret magic fountain. She then searched the internet for the coordinates, and we found it…
After another delicious three course lunch, I made my way to the Saint Pierre Church in nearby Mons. It was almost identical to the one in the forest I had visited the previous night, but surrounded by a small graveyard. I entered the gate, but the church was locked. I saw the small path into the forest, and followed it to the fountain. It was a small stone arch with an iron cross, and several small, recently made wooden crosses. The trees around were covered in candle wax. It was more like a spring than a fountain really, but it was magic!
I had to backtrack to Belin-Beliet, to find the road to Moustey, my destination for this evening. I had originally planned to stay at Saugnacq-et-Muret, as I had information about a pilgrims Gite there, but when I asked my fellow pilgrim to call, they were told the was nothing there, and to stay in Moustey where there was a commercial Gite, that had beds for pilgrims. I road on following the instructions to look out for the wagon wheels marking the turnoff. I arrived, paid, and was shown the place for pilgrims. I thought it was a little overpriced for the 17€ they asked but it was a commercial venture I guess. There was another Pilgrim camping, and turns out he was paying half as much as me for the use of the same facilities – I should have put up my tent, but I had already paid, unpacked and had occupied a bed.
He was German, and also riding a bike. I asked had he ridden from Germany? He said he had ridden from Germany, up to Norway, back down, was going to Santiago de Compostella, then onto Portugal. He was in his fourth month of the trip, and had ridden today from Bordeaux. He said his budget for France was 15€ a day, as he was heating up some pasta with instant sauce. My budget for lunch is that. I guess if you live in Europe, you don’t have to indulge every day. He was then rather dismissive and didn’t want to talk any more, I guess after four months you get sick of the same conversation. I was impressed however… and he had a really nice bike.
I went up to the village of Moustey to visit the two churches that are side by side, and look very similar, I don’t know why, and couldn’t find any information on the subject. Nearby is a marker to Compostella… Only 1,000km to go!
Another pilgrim arrived, and it was the French man from the previous evening who had no English. He is in his late 60’s, and didn’t seem the fittest of men, but said he had walked 38 km that day… Slightly less than I had cycled (he had left before I got up!). That is impressive!
I was cooking some pasta for dinner, as had a had a big lunch only wanted a simple meal, and offered to make some for him, but he said he would go up to the village to a resturant. About half an hour latter he returned saying everything was shut, but he had bought some supplies form the local shop. We started a conversation, but both agreed it was too hard… But I do like to talk, so opened Google translate, and we were able to chat. I showed him some photos of Indonesia, and he told me about a trip he had had to China, and we ended up having a pleasant evening together, with only a few words of each other’s language.