THE STAGES, DAY BY DAY
Leaving the paved trails of La Rochelle behind, we follow the elevated and isolated patch of coastline...
towards the Réserve naturelle du Marais d’Yves. As we enter the city of Saintes, the Gothic-style Basiliquen Saint-Eutrope welcomes us with its 80-metered high flamboyant spires casting a shadow like a lighthouse on the way to Santiago de Compostela. From here, we continue to Pons to admire the remains of medieval accommodations that offered hospitality to travellers for centuries.
The Blaye Citadel is not only a citadel but also a structure that fortifies the city of Blaye, found in the Gironde department of Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. The Citadel features a semicircle of ramparts, fortified gates, barracks, a prison and fountains that offer signs and memories of the past. The ruins of a medieval castle, Château des Rude, home of Jaufre Rudel, the Prince of Blaye and troubadour who proclaimed ‘love from afar’ in his songs. In Blaye, pilgrims visited the tomb of the Paladin legend Roland noting his heroic death at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. The Merovingian basilica in Blaye is also the resting place of the king of Aquitaine and the convents of the Minorite friars.
The fortress was built under the supervision of one of the greatest military engineers of the 17th century Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. It was here in 1848, that the young Giovanni Omboni studied his treatises to defeat the Austrians but, discouraged by the war, he turned to geology and devoted himself to other fields of interest.
Leaving Blaye we reach the bay of Gujan Mestras, a meeting place between fresh and saltwater and a sanctuary of biodiversity. Then, we cross the Reserve naturelle du banc d’Arguin and climb the Dune of Pilat, the highest in Europe overlooking the Arcachon basin.
Between the dunes and pine forests along the coast of Aquitaine, we cross the Adour River reaching the city of Bayonne. Overtaken by fire in 1258, the Gothic cathedral was rebuilt between the 13th and 16th centuries. New men and women came to Bayonne from other countries. New baptized Christians continued to live outwardly at a time when their faith was imposed on them. On July 25, 1603, in the cathedral the son of the Portuguese doctor Loys de Castro and the Spanish Isabella of Valencia, Pedro Castro (Ezekiel) was baptized.
Ezekiel, moved to The Republic of Venice (Serenissima), graduating again in medicine in Padua in 1645 and being baptized again in Verona. He published several treatises with both the Christian name Pedro and the Hebrew Ezekiel.
We continue our journey leaving France behind us and finally arriving in San Sebastián, the end of the fourth stage of our journey.