Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6 Uhart-Mixe to St. Jean Pied de Port 30km

Anne-Marie (Auberge de Pelerins)

Our good natured host guided us to the start of our walk and with a friendly wave and "un bon route" we were off. A warm breeze and a steep climb was our 7am warm-up for this our last day on Le Chemin Le Puy. As usual I was the trail tortoise, as all the other pelerins kept busting past us but I just keep reminding myself that although I may be slow, at least I'm always going forward.

Before long that warm breeze became quite a strong wind which actually made the day quite comfortable. Well except for the hills that is. Our elevation guide was quite deceptive as it showed that we had a very flat day. This was not the case as we went up and down all day. Granted the hills weren't that high but a hill is a hill is a hill. We walked about six hours and then took a great rest and snack at St. Jean de Vieux which left us about an hour to go.

Coming into St. Jean Pied de Port was so different this time but no less exciting. Two years ago when John, Dayton and I got off the train from Bayonne we were anxious excited pilgrims wondering what was in store for us. It was early morning and almost everything except the pilgrim's office was closed. This time we walked in from the opposite direction through the ancient portal and right away we were on the same street as the pilgrim's office; a street that was bustling with bright-eyed, eager pilgrims and lots of charming shops and gites. St. Jean Pied de Port is over-whelmed with pilgrims this weekend and most of the gites were 'competo' (full). Luckily we had reservations at the Auberge de Pelerins and the first person who enthusiastically greeted us was Ann Marie, one of our friends from the first part of our Chemin Le Puy last October. It was so great to see her. Ann Marie arrived in St. Jean at the end of October last year and has stayed ever since. With an amazing instance of serendipity, she is working at the gite where we are staying.

Dayton just went out and bought the new Miam Miam Dodo Dodo book for Spain and looked up where we will be volunteering in Estella. Our albergue is the first one listed for that town and advertises full dinner and breakfast donativo for 32 pilgrims. Time to put our cooking to the test.

Now tomorrow and Saturday we face the Pyrenees. We are dedicating our climb over the Pyrenees to our friend Alicia who is facing a personal medical mountain to climb. We will dedicate every single huffing-puffing, breathtaking step to her and know that our climb is, in the grand scheme of things, so minor. A toi, Alicia.


  1. I still fondly remember our stay in Estella and the delight of being offered a wonderful dinner on a cold winter's night. Thank you both for volunteering. I'll look forward to hearing more about that part of your journey.

    Safe passage,

  2. I would like to take Linda to St. Jean Pied de Port and spend a couple of days and then over the Pyrenese, Stopping first at Orisson. We too will be thinking of your trek over the Pyrenese with many thoughts in mind.

    Cheers and be safe. Watch out for that biting hourse that does not like apples, but fingers.

    John and Linda

  3. Hello, you two. It is Mother's Day (and Ana's birthday), the sun is out, and reading your posts from Moissac to SJPDP just now gave me a severe case of homesickness. It is interesting that Karen's aches and pains receive far fewer mentions now than at the beginning -- she must be acclimatizing. We look forward to the next installments. Bon Chemin!!

    John and Ana

  4. Thank you for your comments: We have both gotten the toe tapping and padding down pat so are feeling really good.

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