Before and After
We left St. Jean Pied de Port at 8:15 am. The red, white and green flags were strewn across the old town’s cobblestone streets to celebrate a Basque festival. We enjoyed marching bands during the day before and tried not to listen to the bands that played two-hour sets at 9 pm, midnight, and 2 a.m.
25K, nine hours and change later, we arrived at Roncevalles. The only place to stop for food or rest or beverage was at the 7K mark. We weren’t really hungry at that point but we split a “tortilla” to load some carbs.
(Tortilla in Spain is essentially potato and egg “quiche,” gluten free for yours truly.)
Our legs were wobbly and at the very end I said, “I feel like my legs are boiled spaghetti and I’m trying to control them with my brain alone. No tongs.”
In Between Time
The Camino through the Pyrenees is an uphill effort we’d never experienced before. Thankfully, the weather was perfect. We never had to put on rain gear, for one. And even when climbing above the tree line we enjoyed a light breeze. Sometimes we gave out-loud thanks for both shade and a breeze in the same stretch.
From whence we came is pictured above. Zoom in and you’ll see a road far below where I was standing to take this picture. Way down yonder is St. Jean terrain.
Bucolic is the word Donna and I used to describe the trek through and over the Pyrenees. At first we thought those beige things were rocks. Nope. Sheep.
Cattle roamed free and did not mind us at all. They wore huge cow bells, but we quickly learned that the free range herd of horses (not pictured on either of our cell phones) also wore bells. And so did the sheep.
This is the perfect setting. Shade. Flat-ish. Canopy of trees. Unfortunately, the same setting turned ugly when we took an “alternate route” that went straight downhill for almost 4K. No pictures to share because it was all we could do to not tumble down the trail.
We had to wait in line to check in to our hotel room, and I was able to chat with the other travelers in Spanish. I asked questions of the receptionist in Spanish and translated the answers to English for Donna. Strangely comforting is the best I can describe the feeling or relief to be in Spain, where I have more words than in France.
We have a third floor room loft room at Hotel Roncevalles. Two full sized beds pushed together is luxurious to us.
View from one of the windows actually doubles as air conditioning. Thankfully it will be a cool, crisp night.
Before the projected rain pours down manana en la manana.