Day 28 – Arthez-de-Béarn

Much cooler today with cloud cover. Pleasant walking conditions. 19 mile walk but I was able to take a couple small shortcuts to shorten it to 17 miles.

Since it was a relatively long walk, and I wasn’t sure how hot I’d get, I started at 6:00am again. The owners of my Chambres d’Hôte (B&B) were really nice. They put out a breakfast for me at 5:30am. They also made a picnic lunch for me to carry. That made the hike a lot easier, especially because there were no good stops for supplies anywhere on today’s trail.

Bill, is there any special way that pilgrims are identified?

Yes, two ways.

First, nearly every pilgrim carries a credential, also known as a “pilgrim’s passport.” the credential is used to keep a record of where you have been, so your pilgrimage can be recognized by the Pilgrims’ Office in Santiago when you finish. Additionally, some of the public gites require you have a pilgrim’s passport to stay there. (Video below of a credential.)

Second, many pilgrims wear a scallop shell on their backpack. Scallop shells are common on the beach past Santiago. Centuries ago pilgrims would carry a shell to show they had made it all the way to Santiago. Now it’s become the symbol of the Camino.

My backpack with the scallop shell I received from the Michigan chapter of the Americans on the Camino Association.
Some fellow pilgrims with a shells on their backpacks.
I’ve noticed World War 1 and 2 memorials in many of the towns. Most list those from the town that died. It’s really sad to see a half dozen names from a town with 100 residents. Must have been devastating to the community. This one was in Castillon.
Another memorial in my finishing town for today.
Video about how the pilgrim’s passport works.

9 thoughts on “Day 28 – Arthez-de-Béarn

  1. Really enjoying your journey, BIll! Question – you have all the modern conveniences on your pilgrimage. How was it different for pilgrims centuries ago (e.g., did it take them longer to complete the Camino, did they travel less miles per day, where did they find food and shelter along the way).

    1. I’m not an expert but I think the Catholic Church provided a lot of support. People got support from the Church and even slept in Church buildings, O believe.

      There is a 12th century “guide book” called “The Codex Calixtinus.” I’m not sure how much it was used but covered topics like where to get clean water.

      Personally, I find it amazing people did this hundreds of years ago. They were much tougher than me.

  2. Thanks for continuing to share your experiences – I look forward to your reports every day! Obvious question from an introvert… As you make acquaintances, when you set out for the day’s journey, is it generally understood that you’ll walk alone at your own pace or do you have to adjust your pace and deal with the awkwardness of walking with someone you kind of know?

    1. People feel comfortable moving at their own pace. When I’m with someone I know we walk together for a few minutes then separate.

      Friends/couples doing this together tend to stay together.

      In Spain, there are a lot more people so it may be a little different.

  3. Agree with shuchi’s comment- so appreciative you are taking us all along! Feels like I get to experience all the good stuff without the hard work! Love all the photos, explanations, and videos- especially the church bells and cow bells! So glad your leg is healing and you’re able to continue. Godspeed friend!!

  4. It’s hard to imagine the impacts of WW1 and WW2 on these small towns. France certainly was right in the middle of the action. Tremendous bravery and sacrifices. Thanks for sharing about the memorials.

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