After breakfast and all geared up I ventured out onto the cobblestone street of St Jean Pied de Port and headed towards the town gate where the Camino Frances begins. I visited the church and lit a candle for mom. As you may or may not know, I’m dedicating this walk in honour of mom who passed 5 years ago of Alzheimer’s disease and wearing purple. Making memories.
I met Ann from Ireland and we walked together for a while. The goal today is to reach Orisson where I have my only other reservation. To say it was difficult is an understatement!
It was not so much the weather which was cool and windy but the terrain and slope. The rocks were difficult to manoeuvre and the slope was all uphill and severe at times. My ticker certainly got a workout. It took me 5 hours to go 8 km which normally I would do in 2. Along The Way I met a couple from Washington, a gentleman from Alabama, Carlos from Brazil who was riding his bike. We shared a snack together on a log while we commiserated about the next section.
Each corner was another hill but the scenery was unbelievable. Here’s a friend I met.
Arriving at Orisson was an unbelievable feeling. The sun was shining but it was cold and windy. I was wearing 4 layers and needed the protection from the wind and the 3 degrees.
Coming around the bend and only seeing another hill suddenly I heard laughter and like a mirage an overhanging outdoor patio was holding fellow pilgrims drinking warm drinks, beer and of course French wine. We are still in France.
Shown to my room which consisted of 5 bunk beds. First things first, grab a hot shower time to warm up, a beer on the terrace looking over the valleys and then a hot meal.
At the end of our meal which consisted of lentil and ham soup, roasted chicken and mixed veggies and a Basque cake for dessert we were asked to stand up and introduce ourselves. Already I was meeting pilgrims from all over the world.
For those of you concerned I was travelling solo, put those worries away. I’m in excellent company. At my table there were 9 of us solo ladies and it’s like the United Nations. Perhaps we should get our leaders to walk the camino because the camaraderie is nothing I’ve ever encountered.
Time to sleep! Lights out at 10:00