So after a restless night I was tired and still full of cold. I got dressed and headed down for breakfast and to meet other pilgrims. Laid out before me on a long table we’re a selection of cereal, breads, Juices, tea and coffee.
Having my fill of food just 10mins from getting out of bed is a skill I have mastered but my mother has yet to.
Returning to our room we packed our bags and left our accommodation and headed down the road to a local shop. We each purchased a packed lunch, which had a sandwich, banana, a single boiled egg and a fruit juice from memory.
We walked under a clock and through the arch, I’m sure it has a more descriptive name but I didn’t have a guide book with me. We continued walking up the cobbled pavement and straight out of town.
Now the next part puzzles me because the last three books I’ve read on the Camino they got lost getting out of town and its a straight road with only one slight turn. I must admit I did take a wrong turn the next day.
Head up the hill out of St Jean-Pied-de-Port SJPP was so hard because I was still full of cold and the medication was sapping all my strength. If i wasn’t so excited at walking in France and Spain I could have easily just curled up and gone back to sleep.
We stopped to put our rain jackets on because of the mist, a nice Irish guy took a photo of my mother and I. A little farther up the road it started to rain so I dug out my rain pants as I hate walking with wet trousers on.
We could see beautiful view of the country side but they were diminishing fast as the mist rolled in and the distant plains disappeared. The rain was getting heavier and the ground was turning to a muddy river in places.
It was still raining once we arrived at Orisson but it was nice to be inside for a nice cup of hot chocolate and a slice of cake. We also got our 2nd stamp in our passport.
The mist was growing thicker now and as people passed us they just disappeared into the white never to bee seen again. There was an eerie sound of cow bells coming from the fields and rain droplet filled spider webs hanging between barbwire fences. The sun couldn’t penetrate through the mist and It was beginning to give this place a kind of spooky dull feel.
As we sat down in the gutter eating our pack lunch a mass of sheep came out of the mist then started to run, it was quite unsettling.
Then the mist would clear and the sun would shine, osprey would fly over our heads and horses could be seen in the distance. Then 30 seconds latter the mist would once again roll in and people would disappear and other people would emerge out of blanket of white.
We walked passed a sign which read Roncesvalles 9.1km, we were cold and wet and this day seemed like it was never going to end. I could see mum was beginning to tire and I was wondering if this was our life for the next few weeks. The mud was beginning to get heavy on our boots and I was hoping to find a nice place to stop and re fuel.
We then walked through some of the most vibrant green foliage trees I have ever seen, just when you think you have nothing left in the tank the Camino provides you with stunning landscapes and you slow down an absorb your surroundings.
I then forgot to bypass the steep section into Roncesvalles and my mother fell over and almost broke her wrist on the first day. I think this rattled her a little and I remember standing in front of her telling her to use her pole’s correctly. Pole, Pole, Step, Step i would repeat as i walked down the hill backwards hoping she wouldn’t fall over again. Then four mountain bike riders passed us and three of them fell off. This was definitely not the route we should have followed. Then I remembered the photo copied bit of paper in my backpack telling us not to go down this route.
I think the climb down into Roncesvalles with all the mud took us well over a few hrs.
We arrived at our accomodation and I felt so guilty taking the dangerous path that I spent the next 20mins cleaning all the mud off our boots and rain pants while mum had a shower.
We decided to eat at the restaurant which was quite comical because the menu that the waitress gave us didn’t match the menu the chef had. So I ordered the beef and got the fish. Not speaking any Spanish which I’m ashamed of I resorted to charades and put two fingers on my head and moo’d like a cow. Then I waved my hand like a fish trying to explain that they had given me beef and not fish.
Apart from a very confused waitress we all had a good laugh and the people next to us explained in Spanish what had happened to the waitress.
All in all after a few red wines we didn’t care what we were eating and just went with it, this is the Camino and were having fun.
Enjoy my video walking the first day of Camino de Santiago.