Day 1 – Stockholm to San Jean Pied de Port
The flight went from Stockholm, to a small airport in Biarritz in France, and then a short bus trip to Bayonne where I met up my lovely Rose. So we spent the day walking around Bayonne, visiting the big cathedral, shopping local basque cheese, drinking café au lait and talk about life. From Bayonne Gare station we then took a local train to the starting point of the Camino, San Jean Pied de Port, where we landed at our Hotel Camou, 1 km outside the village. What a place! I guess we were the only visitors, with a grave yard and a church right outside the room, surrounded by fog from the mountains and a cold pool that we tried to enjoy due to the cold degrees still. It was a beautiful nature with mountains all around. After a shower and some rest we went down to the village to watch EM-final, eat pizza and carbonara. After the game (with loss for france) we had a storm coming, so we stopped a car full of surf boards and pulled us in to get a lift home to “the grave yard”. Many laughs after we were home and safe, ready to sleep due to the coming first Pilgrim-walk!
Day 2 – San Jean Pied De Port to Orrison
We woke up at Hotel Camou and went down to the village to have a french breakfast with the best baguette we could find. Then we walked through the monuments in San Jean Pied De Port, the citadel, the french wall and also the cathedral. It’s interesting what impulses you can get after visiting the cathedrals! We could also stroll through the little village of cafées and small alleys, always laughing and with a lot of energy. After a lunch with salad and crepes we were no doubt the last ones that had not started the walk up the pyrenees, so at 4 pm we left to make the first part of the Camino, which meant 8 km in 45 degrees in heavy rain! It took us 2 hours of walking and were a bit of a challenge due to the weather surprice. And we also took the wrong way, following the large path witch seemed to be the obvious one, but it’s not always the obvious way that is the right way! However, all roads lead home in the end, so we entered Orrison in the evening, took a warm shower to get dry and had a beautiful dinner at the top of Pyrenees, at a place called Orrison, with all the other Pilgrims, and we all felt like a big family staying together, with people from all over the world like US, Ireland, and you name it! Then we spent that night together in a room with 8 other Pilgrims.
Day 3 – Orrison to Roncevalles – The day of laughter
I mean, all days are days of laughter together but this was special, and also my birthday! What a pleasure to have my birthday on the top of the mountains – beautiful gift! When I woke up everyone was already having breakfast (yes, people start their walks really early every day while we are sleeping and enjoying our morning coffee everyday). I got celebrated by our new Pilgrim friends with song and gratulations. And Rose had prepared a really nice breakfast including local basque cake! Got so moved from all love greetings. Lucky me! I also got a poncho from the owner of Orrison and that was my luck because the rain was even heavier today! Back to the room when we were about to pack our last things to leave, we heard a knock on the door, and when I opened a girl stepped in the room with a flute, starting to play the birthday song “Happy birthday to you”, I mean is this happening? What a courage to do! After the breakfast we left Orrison, a place I will never forget. 5 hours of walking waited, including to cross the border to Spain! And this was a real experience, we had coffee break in the top of the mountain, were a man sold coffee, eggs, cheese from his local sheeps. And on the abolute top, we found a cabin place where we could get warm, light a fire and enjoy the company of other pilgrims. And what a journey! There were horses, pigs, cows, clouds, mountain tops – life! When we came to Roncevalles we had a dinner at the hotel and then went to a catholic worship (this is what you do the same evening you enter a new village after the pilgrimage). The rest of the evening we spent together with our new friend from Belgium, having a glas of whine and talking about life.
Day 4 – Roncevalles to Zubiri
As the other days, we were the last ones starting todays walk. We took a long morning and by lunch-time we started another beautiful road over spanish countryside, mountains and forests! We went 2,7 miles to come to the village Zubiri, where we met our irish friend and a new one from California. We shared a dinner together, and our friend Kento from Japan also showed up to join us. They were staying one night, but we decided to continue further to Larrasoana before it got to dark. We arrived in the evening at 22, a bit to optimistic about place to sleep, because all Albergues (Hostels especially for Pilgrims) were full and there were no ordinary hotels in this small village, so the alternative left was to continue to walk all night in the nature to Pamplona and arrive in the morning (not optional!), or to knock door. And so we did, but people do not want strangers in their homes, and especially not when you knock on the finest house in the whole village. So we were just about to leave for night walk to Pamplona, when we saw the last house in the village which were a woman having a few roomes in here home, and she let us in!
Day 4 – Zubiri to Pamplona
The last walk were ca 1,8 mile and went through small villages, citys and to Pamplona. This was the first day we started to feel the effect of tired muscles. But also because of the body knows that the walk is coming to an end and you start to relax. In Pamplona a yearly festival was going on, so it was full of life! Glad we missed the bullfigting though. From Pamplona we took the bus for about an hour to beautiful San Sebastian, where we checked in on a Hostel. For me it was a big challenge to stay with other people you don’t know, but after a couple of days (and with sleeping bag in silk) I felt calm and could enjoy the feeling of Community. We spend the night in old town having tapas and whine and the next day just enjoying a day at the beach, and then having Paella dinner.
I couldn’t wish for a better partner on this journey. My spiritual friend Rose is so special to me. She connects people and share a lot of wisdom of life. Stay positive in all situations because solutions is always bigger than problems. Don’t worry, create joy, take all chances and always enjoy the journey!
To be continued.