BEYRIES – ORTHEZ
When the bird arrives
If it arrives
Observe the most profound silence
Wait till the bird enters the cage
And when it has
Gently close the door with your brush……
After the strange night in the huge dancing hall with me as the only person sleeping in it, I left Les Landes and entered the region of Pyrénées –Atlantiques with Béarn as the biggest district in it. In this area, the people speak their own language (language d’oc). For a long time, it was forbidden to use this language; now it comes slowly back.
The countryside became hilly and the vegetation was more Mediterranean. In the villages, the houses were well kept and it seemed that the community life was still intact. People were going for walks and I even met a German couple that moved to France for their retirement. They loved the quietness of this place.
In the afternoon, I arrived in Orthez, a charming little town located beside the River Gave-de Pau. Medieval houses are located on each side of the river with a 14th century bridge connecting the two sides. I loved to walk through the city and discover hidden treasures of medieval architecture. I also climbed up the 13th century pentagonal tower of the former castle of the counts of Béarn. The view over the city and the countryside was fantastic.
The best place, however, was the refuge. It was located in a Gothic stone building. One had to walk up stairs to a Gothic tower. From there, spiral stone stairs lead up to the rooms of the refuge. The herb garden in the court is there for the pilgrims to use.
Four other people were staying there too– a French couple and the students Luni and Mathilda. Mathilda’s feet were badly blistered. I had everything she needed to care for them. The French couple was at their end of the pilgrimage, coming from Le Puy.