It was a relief to finally start walking. I just needed to GO. And so we did.
We arrived in Saint Jean Pied de Port France on the evening of August 31st. Went straight to the Albergue we had reserved in advance, located right in the Camino. But at checkin
the very rude owner
told us we would need to pay again, even though we had a paid in full confirmation from
Booking.com. Apparently Booking. Com hadn’t paid her, even though we booked months ago. Arne says to her this is between her and Booking.com. She says no, I won’t allow you in the room until you pay.
Ugh. What are we supposed to do? ¬†We need a place to sleep. So we pay. She is not kind. We are pissed and now need to try and get a refund from Booking.com.
So I try to put it behind me. I want my mind clear and focused on the task we have worked hard for. We sleep restlessly and are up and ready to go by 7:30am. Step out the door and we are on the path. Here we go.
The beginning poses a problem. You need to choose. Either only go five miles day one because it is very
steep. Or do the steep five miles and then continue another 12 to the next town.
Since it was day one we chose the short day. And it was very steep, and also very beautiful. But it wasn’t all that difficult to do just five miles and we were at our stopping point by 10am. Sheesh. What were we going to do all day?
We ate lunch at 10:30 because I was starving. We then showered and sat out in the sun to get my hair to dry. But the weather then took a turn so we went and laid in our bunk beds and read for hours.
We were in a bunk room with a total of ten beds. Arne was the only male. Women seem to outnumber men about four to one. ¬†Curious that.
Dinner for forty people was served at 6:30 and it was really delicious – chicken and vegetables with wine. ¬†We enjoyed talking to other guests and then everyone introduced themselves and said where they were from. ¬†Pilgrims from South Korea, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, Ireland, Holland, England, Spain, France and the USA. ¬†We briefly told our story about how the Camino was the
catalyst for our Grand Adventure and we got a big round of applause.
I slept like a log with my ear plugs in and woke at 6:15. ¬†Breakfast so far has only been bread and jam and coffee. ¬†I’m a bit disappointed by that. ¬†I really need some protein when I’m tackling a mountain. ¬†But no protein for this mountain.
It was beautiful but chilly when we started walking at 7:45. ¬†We had 12 miles today, and most of it up. ¬†But after less than an hour we saw the storm coming. ¬†We stopped and put our rain covers on our packs and put on our ponchos.
The rain came. ¬†It was a sideways rain. ¬†Very cold. ¬†Windy and the damp seeped into my bones. ¬†Slogging along the fog so thick we couldn’t see more than 40 feet in front of us. ¬†After an hour I needed to put on another layer. ¬†I was shivering and so cold so we stopped and got out another coat. ¬†Then we continued the climb. ¬†We ate our sandwiches as we walked because it was just too wet to stop. ¬†Slogging on.
Finally the wind stopped and the rain lessened. ¬†Grateful. ¬†At the peak elevation 4680 feet there was actually someone selling hot coffee. ¬†I think he was an angel in disguise. ¬†That coffee made the
remaining three miles down much easier.
We arrived in Roncesvalles¬†6 hours after leaving Orison. Here we have a real hotel. ¬†No bunk beds. ¬†Happy Hiker! Hot shower, a little yoga, a beer. ¬†Oh the pleasures of life!
Tomorrow is a¬†long¬†one – 17 miles. ¬†But it is relatively flat and hopefully dry. ¬†Surely better weather than today!
Total so far 17 miles! ¬†Only 472 more to go!! 😳