Monday December 29th 2014. Bazas. 28 km

It is nevertheless nice and warm in our attic. My twin beds was fine, but Servé’s antique mattress could have been a straw mattress: all mountains and valleys. He was less pleased with the night. Breakfast, along with our hostess. I use no pills, she said proudly. Everything was white frozen, blue sky. The animals were active and enthusiastic like always, so apparently my concerns about their situation were not necessary. Tosca slept in an unheated porch which was partially open, but was wearing a dogs coat and lay on a blanket. The blanket had, of course, big holes in it, as a result of Tosca’s youthful behavior. What a beast. Under Leons rain coat I had put a blanket, but that had slipped off during the night . Nevertheless, he was active all day like always. During the day I saw dogs in their too big dog houses, with a large hole in it, so really not warm, cows in the pasture. I start believing I am over concerned, regarding my animals, isn’t it?

The weather forecast predicts frost -9 degrees C, if the weather gets less cold, rain will come. That is one thing worrying me, even more because the spiritual support of my partner Servé will last only 2 more days . I am very concerned about next weeks nights. Often we find refuge in the municipal pilgrims’ hostels. Reservation via town hall or tourist office. But those tourist offices and town halls are often closed this week, so I do not know where I can go anywhere at all in the evening or the next day . Today we need to book something for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s weekend and actually for next Monday too and the weekend after. Of course I can stay and wait in one place, but how will the planning of shelter be if I want to walk on? Everywhere answering machines, which are often difficult to understand. And it’s not very smart to arrive at a hostel at minus 9 degrees C. predicted frost. That’s a huge stress I must admit. Then I think, why do you do this any longer? Just stop with this nonsense. What are you trying to prove with this impossible enterprise? And yet, still we always find refuge again.
We arrive around 3:30 p.m. in Bazas. Where is the Office du Tourism? Of course in the middle of the (beautiful) center, next to the cathedral. Your pilgrims passport please. Shoot, where is it? Not in the usual place in my backpack. Did I forget it in Billes? All backpacks checked: gone. Meanwhile, I have already received the password of the lock of the pilgrim’s inn. I thought, if the tourist office doesn’t admit me in the inn tonight we’ll just go and sneak inside. On the way to the Office du Tourisme I had seen a possible sleepin place for Leon. I said call last night’s Cafe de la Paix in Rockfort, to get aknowledgment that we have a pilgrim passport. But the bartender in Rockfort did not cooperate because this morning we did not bring back the key of last night’s inn to his bar. No, he had not seen two pilgrims with a horse and a dog. Man, you’d better hang under the horse! I can not give you access to the pilgrim shelter, said the official of the Office de T. firmly. We can not stay outside in this cold? Call the 90-year-old in Billes where we stayed 2 nights ago, to hear that we have a pilgrim passport. O.K., but she was not home. I say: You can not expect me to go there with a taxi 28 km. tonight, if she is at home anyway, to pick up the passport? In the weeks to come I need the passport anyway. I hoped the official would tack, but she could not, because behind a glass corner her colleague was listening and the colleague was very strong in maintaining the rules. Well, just freeze to death, solve your problems yourself, that’s not our responsibility, they probably thought. And that’s right to a certain extent. This morning I had put on Servé’s warmer clothes, in which I did not quite know the way. After an hour of fuzzing at the tourist office we could stop trying to call for an (expensive) private shelter for pilgrims: voila le passport of pélegrins! How how! In one of the pockets of the clothes I wore of Servé. Wfwfwfw. Do you really want to sleep at the pelgrim’s inn, asked the official, because there is no heating. I don’t give a d.. Yes, yes, I want to! OK. The official talked with her boss behind the glass. Normally it is 10 E p.p., but because it is freezing and because there is no heating, you get the shelter for free.O.k.
Wow! A beautiful old building, a big grass garden for Leon, big hall for Tosca and ….. heating everywhere! I slap Servé. Succes again. Next making calls for the rest of the week. One night fixed, the rest of the week problematic. Back to the Tourism Office. Here we are again. Can you help us searching for refuge? She still booked another night. Tomorrow we’ll go on searching, she said. By the way I just forgot??? to tell her that the heating actually did work. Now searching for wifi. Free at the local bar, but not functioning. Hopeless. Why am I doing all this? Everyday ups and downs. Is that nice? It’s not, only when a problem is solved. Always the fear that it will not be solved. And then? On verra! We’ll see.
Dinner at a restaurant on the main square. Then back to our pilgrim accommodation and guess what? Leon was gone again. Then again calling the police. No phone coverage. O.K., back to the restaurant. The restaurant owner drives me around in the village in his car, looking for Leon. Servé goes walking. Eventually the restaurant owner called the police and, yes, we heard that Leon was brought to the yard of the town hall, where I finally picked him up at midnight. I find Serve back at the inn with extra blisters from his long walk. How charming, this trip!

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