Getting To the Starting Point: LAX-Biarritz-St. Jean Pied de Port

Donna and I say adios to LAX, Camino here we come! Yes, it was a Spanish sparkling wine.

We left LAX at 1:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, arrived Paris at 9:30 a.m. and then connected to a flight to Biarritz. We got to Biarritz hotel around 4 p.m. Saturday and pinkie swore that we would not go to bed until dark.

Donna wants to get a picture of each “hotel” we stay in. The beds and the view from the window. These are at the Hotel Windsor in Biarritz. Our first night’s stay.


Donna’s “view from our window” in Biarritz.


Terri’s “view from the window” picture, taken from inside the hotel room instead of hanging precariously out the 6th floor window like Donna did.


Selfie looking back on the beach. Our hotel was one of the beige buildings on the left end of what is pictured in the middle.

We found a restaurant around the corner from our hotel that served an  “early” dinner at 7:30 p.m. We were tucked in by 10 p.m. and slept until 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

We had time to kill until our 2 p.m. transfer by car to St. Jean Pied de Port, so we took off walking in the other direction from the day before, headed for the lighthouse.

The beach at Biarritz Sunday morning.


After staying up as late as we could Saturday night, we slept in Sunday and took about a 5K walk to the lighthouse at the north end of the beach. This is looking back from whence we walked.


The lighthouse in Biarritz, built in 1834. It’s 44 meters (~144 ft) high. The math is important. Read the post!

We could have walked to the top of the lighthouse, but a) it was an hour’s wait, and b) the next day we would be climbing 3,000 feet into (and over?) the Pyrenees. Or, for perspective, like climbing that lighthouse 20 times.

We had a cappuccino in a cafe and then waited for our ride to St. Jean. At 1:59 p.m. a driver hops out and yells, “Taxi!”

Right on time! Awesome. He hoists our two suitcases into the trunk, jumps back in and says cheerfully, “To the beach! Yes?”

Two big suitcases and we’re going to the beach, he’s making a joke. “Ha ha. St. Jean Pied de Port,” I corrected.

”The Port?” He clarified as he pulled away.

“NO, no, CaminoWays, St. John Pied de Port!”


“No, we are going to St. Jean Pied de Port. To walk the Camino.”

”OK, St. Jean Pied de Port.” He enters something into his phone and Donna and I realize we have the wrong cab.

I said, “We already paid. CaminoWays paid. Wrong cab. Wrong cab. Go back.”

I don’t speak French, but I could tell that the words he spoke were probably not in the Duolingo curriculum.

As he made an illegal u-turn and double parked outside our hotel lobby, we saw a very confused looking couple talking to man with van. They were obviously packed for a day on the beach.

“Wrong cab, wrong cab!”

Our driver was sweet and friendly. Thankfully, he spoke Spanish, which seemed so familiar to me. It was a one-hour drive to St. Jean, and the scenery was stunning. Winding roads through tall mountains spotted with farms.

St. Jean Pied de Port

We’ll cross this river in the morning and the adventure begins! We walked around all afternoon hunting for the beginning of the Camino.

Found it! And then we reorganized every thing into what goes in our day packs (rain gear, first aid kit, Pilgrim’s Passport and 2 liters of water).

And we had two full-sized beds in this room on which to spread it all out.

We are ready. Buen Camino!



9 Replies to “Getting To the Starting Point: LAX-Biarritz-St. Jean Pied de Port”

  1. What an exciting start for your adventure! The pictures are awesome already! Have a great time and be safe. 😊

  2. So glad to hear from you both. Every picture looked like “rain” was on the horizon. Donna. your view, I have to say, was the prettiest but please stop hanging out of windows, Can’t wait to see your hotel rooms along the way.

    Love Mom

  3. Biarritz looks just like I imagined! Fun and beautiful. Onward brave and able women. A toast to you both that you enjoy the ability to move through a tough but meaningful journey.

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