“We must always start somewhere, and where better than at the beginning”. Today has seen us break the back of our Camino adventure, walking from St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles. It has often been said, (somewhat unfairly in my opinion ) that I am the Stevie Wonder of navigation in the wild. As we set off this morning, full of excited anticipation for what might lie ahead, we contrived to march off in the opposite direction from the designated route. Had we kept going we’d probably have ended up in Paris, but luckily I alerted the map reader (who shall henceforth be referenced as “Carolyn” ) to our error before we had most of St Jean’s population rolling about the cobbled streets screaming “ Regardez les idiots!” while pointing at us with their recently purchased baguettes. Despite this somewhat humiliating start to our adventure things soon began to look up. And up. We soon found ourselves on winding roads that gradually took us higher and higher into the Pyrenees, in
warm temperatures that were never too hot, with little wind and stunning views. In the course of our journey we encountered Pyrenean mountain ponies with bells round their necks (well, we were in the Pyrenees, they were ponies and…..), black faced sheep with curly horns, cows (they looked pretty run of the mill), a lot of snails and best of all, four Griffin Vultures (seen one of them, Mr Muir? )! We walked through sun dappled woods, admired sloping forests that descended spectacularly from the Camino path like a setting from Lord of the Rings, marched through low level mist that at times seemed about to envelop us (but never did ) and saw our first Pyrenean bothy. Seven hours after setting off we arrived in Roncesvalles, checked into a lovely wee hotel, scoffed a cracking meal, drank a bottle of wine and learned that the resident population of the village is 30 !!!! Tomorrow we head for Akerreta, 30km down the road.
Today’s track for the Camino compilation album is “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers ( because we’re walking almost 500…….)
We would also like to thank everyone for their kind messages of encouragement.