Day 1 St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles
I work up early as I was super excited to start my Camino, only thing was I told Ashley and Nora that I was going to meet them at 8am. There was a chill in the air at 7:15am and the wind was blowing down the cobble lined streets. I waited another 15mins and had to send Ashley a message saying I was going to start and meet up with them later.
I walked about 50m got cashed up and some supplies from one of the only shops open at this hr. Continue out of town it was a steep accent and from previous experience I knew it wasn’t going to let up for the next few hrs.
The weather was sunny but it took a good 30 minuets hiking before I was warm enough to take my jumper off.
The first few km out of town you walked on a road with a few scattered houses then open fields with sheep then cows the higher you climbed.
The views were stunning something that I hadn’t seen on my first Camino. All the fields were so green because of recent rains and there was an abundance of slugs.
The trail then changed as you walked from road to a dirt track and got even steeper but the views were outstanding you could see out over SJPP and about 20km Beyond. and the air smelled so fresh with the scent of flowers until you got a whiff of the farm animals.
I started talking to a mother and daughter that was at uni for about 30mins then carried on faster up the hill.
I stopped at Orrison and the views were even better. I got my passport stamped and something to eat. I ran into Nora and she said there breakfast was rubbish so Ashley may be in front of me.
Having food I was fuelled up and ready to go.
A little further up the mist started to roll in and the views were disappearing and the temperature was dropping. So as I stopped at a van beside the road I purchased an egg and a banana and put my jumper on. A lady shared her cheese and I just had to buy some for myself.
Rest stop over I knew I had to get going as there was predicted rain around mid day.
I was almost at the top of the mountain and there was lots of mud and it was very slippery. The fog was thick and making the atmosphere very surreal as it was deadly silent but the fog was just hanging between the trees.
We started to descend and I got to a forest where my mother and I had so much trouble last time. We had a piece of paper from the pilgrims office that told us to keep to the right and follow the road down the mountain not the forest. I tried to tell others not to go down the forest way with all the mud but only one lady would listen to me. So for the next hr we both walked down to Roncesvalles on a winding sealed road and taking short cuts across the grass to cut out the bends of the road. The mist would blow in and we would have to wait a few seconds as it was a total white out and the pole markers would disappear. Then one gust of wind just blew everything away and we could see Roncesvalles about 2km away.
The lady I was walking with lost her brown hair clip in the brown leaves so we spent the next 10mins looking for it.
We continued walking almost parallel to the road and we had a stream pass over the track apart from the road noise it was very beautiful. the tree cover was getting thicker and closer together so was creating a tunnel, some of the leaves were such a bright green with the sun shining through they almost seemed to glow.
I arrived at Roncesvalles and had to clean all the mud off my shoes with water and a scrubbing brush. I was greeted as I entered through a massive wooden door and given a red tag to wear and told to wait until my colour was called then I would be shown to my bed.
Having been shown to my room I had a shower then made my first mistake or reaching for a hotel towel and forgot where I was. I had to drip dry and use my tshirt to dry the rest of me.
I went back to the dormitory and my bunk mates were starting to make out so that was a little uncomfortable so I went out side in search of my friends.
I was so hungry and couldn’t find my friends so I made new ones as your Camino friends are always changing. This old guy at the pub was talking to us for a good ten minutes making all these weird noises and in the end we worked out that he was trying to explain he’d seen a Tasmanian Devil when he was a kid.
My friends arrived and we went for our pilgrim meal at the local pub, where the food was ok but nothing special. We were introduced to some more people and our Camino family grew to include three Korean guys. They asked us to given them simple English names. They got Tommy James and Ken we toasted there new names with more red wine.
I told our group how nice the sangria was so off we went to indulge. If you know me I’m a light weight and totally off my face by now.
Not wanting to get locked out we had to return to the hotel. This is where my luck changed once again, I no longer had my locker key on me. So I made a mad rush to the pub with fits of giggles and not a very straight line as I ran around the court yard I can imagine I looked like I was playing soccer with an invisible ball. No luck there I headed for the restaurant and continued my invisible soccer match.
Someone handed my key in, I was so happy I almost hugged the waitress then thought better.
Returning to my accommodation I got a round of applause from the helpers which made me giggle then got told off for not taking my shoes off.
Somewhere in that mess I started talking to Conner and Karina and exchanged instagram addresses.
And that’s day one.