The Pyrenees were now only a week away and I was looking forward to my 1st sight of the mountains. I would meet very few pilgrims from here till I joined the Spanish part of the route, the true Camino, at Roncesvalles.
After a much needed rest day in Eauze I set off on 8 November for Nogaro and Aire-sur-l'Adour. In both places I spent the night. In Nogaro the girl at the tourist office directed me rather embarrassedly to a small house owned by the Church. I was assured a priest would turn up to welcome me, but he never came. However the door was unlocked so I went inside and tried to make myself as comfortable as I could in the cramped, untidy and somewhat dirty accommodation. It was all very rustique. There was no bedroom so I laid out my sleeping bag in a small communal dining room on 2 filthy mattresses I found, which I covered with a plastic table cloth. I had a restless night. Every time I changed position I slipped down onto the bare, freezing-cold floor. In Aire-sur-l'Adour I slept much more soundly in a dormitory offered at a cheap pilgrim's rate by the Hotel de la Paix.
In Manciet I passed an intriguing bull ring which was used for cattle racing (see photo). Soon I would cross the border into the département of Les Landes, the 2nd largest département in France, and one of the least populated and most densely forested.