14 th July St Paul -Dax
I slept soundly despite the party next door and the conversations on the street below my window and woke as usual about 6.30. I finished packing, grabbed some breakfast and then quietly left the house so I wouldn’t wake anyone. The bus stop was outside so it was going to be an easy ride. While I was waiting Astrid came out to say goodbye. She is so sweet but I had wanted her to sleep in for a change. I promised to let her know I had caught the train. I nearly forgot but sent a message before I arrived in Dax. She was happy to receive it.
The station is very grand and quite comfortable for waiting with lots of cafes and a lounge.
I was very touched to receive an email from Merel wishing me a good trip home and how I had been such a support to her during the week. She said she looked up to me which I found very generous but also amusing, seeing as she is so tall and has to bend down to hug me!
I arrived at the station and although early, the time went quickly and soon I was on the train. A double decker style and sitting beside a window with two young Aussies from Melbourne! The girl wanted to work on her proposal, for Uni I suppose, so we didn’t talk much. I felt excited to hear several young passengers chatting who were heading to St Jean Pied de Port to start their Caminos. Directly behind me a Swiss girl was advising a young Pilgrim to not get caught up in the rush for beds that many pilgrims do. She told her, many pilgrims get up really early- 3 or 4 am just to get to the next place and secure a bed. The Swiss girl told her that the towns will open a church or hall if necessary to give people a bed. She will not have to sleep in the street or the road! It is not good to be rushing and worrying. The Swiss girl had walked from Switzerland to Santiago de Compostella and reassured her about many issues she may encounter.
I arrived in Dax and was greeted warmly by Michel and we returned home to a sumptuous lunch made by Monique. We even had champagne as an aperitif! They are just the same gorgeous, kind, happy people and pleased my French has improved! We make plenty of conversation and though my tenses are still shaky when I talk we understand each other, most of the time. They make lunch the main meal so afterwards I felt really sleepy and we adjourned to chairs in the shade to read and rest. I fell asleep or dozed, with my mouth open no doubt. Fortunately no one took a photo! It was about 30C and very still.
Later we took a walk down by the lake and past the festivities for the evening celebrations for the 14 th July. We heard music and came across Michel’s saxophone teacher playing and accompanying a singer and keyboard player.
It was still so hot and when we returned it was time for a very light dinner. We watched some French TV which was fun because the music program I have seen at home. It is a good way to learn French words. Later a murder movie series a bit like Murder she wrote only with a Male lead. I found that harder to understand the French but it is good practice. I haven’t watched TV for weeks except for Football so it was fun.
I was having a shower before bed but there was no hot water! I was glad to cool down but it was a shock to the system! I didn’t stay awake long after the celebratory fireworks which I could hear exploding. We didn’t watch because Monique is afraid of them, even now as a grown woman.
I find I am half thinking in French and half English now so the blog might become unintelligible!