I Climbed A Grain Silo Yesterday
It doesn’t take a genius to infer from this title what happened yesterday. As it was getting dark yesterday I happened upon a grain silo about 20 meters tall, standing much higher than the multitude of corn planted around it just about as far as the eye could see.
Up the road there was another building that looked a little like an astronomical observatory; either that, or the Martians landed but forgot to take their ship with them. In any case I was pretty close to the next town and decided to take a short break and climb the town. Why, you ask? Because it was there, and I had never done such a thing before.
There was a place for a lock to restrict access to the ladder going up the side of the silo, but there was no lock to speak of, so I climbed up in about 45 seconds or so. The movies make it look much easier than it is; there had been rain earlier in the day so it was a little slippery. I focused on the wall of the silo instead of looking down, which was probably a good idea considering I’m not exactly comfortable with heights. That’s also how I noticed that there was a lot of rust on the rivets holding the ladder onto the silo in the first place, but I’m still alive so the solidity of construction is a moot point as far as I’m concerned.
When I pulled myself on top of the silo I was happy to have made the brief trip up. The view was stupendous, and with the sun already a long way over the other side of the horizon what little light was left in the day made for a dramatic scene.
Before the storm broke I hurried down the road to a village called Labastide-Chalosse and settled into the town hall for the evening; the mayor was kind enough to let me and another Dutch pilgrim named Marie to sleep in cots in the hall for free.
As for today, it rained for most of the 23 km I covered to Orthez, a town about 70 km from the Spanish border. The rain was cold and despite the poncho I wore it managed to soak my shirt a bit, so I’m especially grateful for the warm and dry tourism office here in Orthez. Tomorrow I have roughly 35 km to Saint Palais, a town halfway between here and St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, the last French town before entering Spain. It’s going to be a tough three days on the Camino but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! Ultreia!
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