Camino de Santiago, St Jean Pied de Port
Abi leaned over and whispered in my ear, this driver is haulin ass! To which I replied, I know, but I’m trying not to think about it. It was a wild beginning, this bus ride to St Jean Pied de Port, of our Camino de Santiago journey.
Our Camino de Santiago Journey
This is the day. The day we began our Camino de Santiago journey. We forced ourselves out of a warm bed at 6:30 this morning because we wanted to catch the 7:45 bus from Bayonne to St Jean Pied de Port to give ourselves a day to explore this picturesque village. Thinking how smart we are, we went to the train station last night to find the time table for the bus and to ask where we should purchase tickets. A seemingly helpful information man informed us we needed to buy the tickets at the SNCF ticket office, which was closed. Got it. We’ll get them in the morning.
Not Our Best Effort
7:15 this morning said ticket office was closed up tight until 9:oo a.m. Um? So much for the helpful information man. We attempted to buy tickets from the ticket vending machine but it would not accept our credit card. Side note: our VISA card with the chip in it arrived in the mail 2 days after we left home, of course it did. We have an AMEX card with a chip but most of Europe does not accept Amex. Of course not. On with the saga.
The ticket vending machine did not take paper money either and of course we did not have 20 euros worth of coin. The bus driver was useless in his wealth of not caring, but as luck would have it a very nice man agreed to buy our tickets with his credit card and we gave him the cash. All that, and the driver never collected the tickets. And to add insult to injury, we realized we may have been able to use our Eurail pass. Not our best effort, but live and learn.
We have lessons to learn while we walk the Camino de Santiago.
St Jean Pied de Port
Aside from the driver haulin ass through the lush green French countryside on a narrow winding road, it was a beautiful ride. The low lying silver clouds shrouded the hills and the grazing sheep nibbled their way across the fields. We pulled into the village of St Jean Pied de Port wearing silly grins, it was almost too perfect.
The Pilgrims Office
So here we are at the launching point of this great adventure we’ve been talking about for probably close to three years. Our first stop was the Pilgrims office where we registered and picked up our Credencial del Peregrino.
We were encouraged by those at the Pilgrims’ center to take the mountain pass trail over the Pyrenees as we were assured the weather would be clear and the views spectacular. Let’s hope. We’ve decided to make the trek. I mean, why not? We came this far, why not kill ourselves on the first day? There are water sources along this trail, but there is no food available.
To ward off starvation, we’ve purchased food for the day and we plan to share a baguette and a wheel of Camembert cheese with apples and walnuts, somewhere in the Pyrenees mountains, hopefully taking in breathtaking views. Sounds worth the climb, yes? Oh, did I mention there are no toilets on this mountain pass trail? Ahem.
Tomorrow, We Walk.
Have fun. The first day is the hardest 🙂
Kim recently posted…I’m Back!
Wonderful!!!!! So much fun to follow you.
Thanks so much, Sandy. It helps me get through the walking knowing that people are walking along with us – in spirit!
So looking forward to following your adventure – Good luck and have a wonderful walk!
Thanks for the well wishes, Christine!
Its morning already in England and I read this post still in my bed and I imagine that you have already set off up the mountain. I hope you have dry and pleasant weather and enjoy amazing views when eating your picnic. I am very excited for you both and looking forward to follow your pilgrimage.
Gilda Baxter recently posted…Tobago – Hello Old Friend!
Thanks, Gilda! We need all of the support we can get!
That’s very nice! I hope to do it one day.
Maja recently posted…Falkland Islands – Albatross
Thank you, Maja!
I am so excited for you guys and I can’t wait to see how the journey goes! I hadn’t even thought about the toilet situation; knowing I don’t have access to a toilet always makes me want to go really badly! I’m sure you’ll figure things out along the way though – enjoy that delicious lunch, the start of your journey and that spectacular mountain scenery.
Amy recently posted…What I will and wonât miss about life in Hanoi
The first day kicked my butt, but the good news is I came across two places with toilets before we got to the “really” hard part of the trek! After that I didn’t have time to think of such things! 😉
How exciting! And the Pyrenees first. Wow!!!! You are off on a mighty adventure and will collect so many stories on the way. Be good to yourselves and have fun.
Gaelyn recently posted…Foto Friday Fun 106
Thanks, Gaelyn. I am full of nervous anticipation!
love you blog but have to ask, what brand/model are those shoes? Love! We do a lot of walking living here in Cuenca, Ecuador.
DBMcNicol recently posted…CAUTION! Handyman at work.
Thanks for reading and the kind words! We are both wearing Keen brand shoes. They are great for support for walking and I love them because I don’t like to wear boots. I’ve had this pair for nearly 3 years and they keep on going!
Good job not letting the start of the day ruin the rest of your day. Starting off with the Pyrenees on the first day. I’m impressed. Maybe it’s best to do that while you’re fresh. Add you know, I’m very much looking forward to “following” along on your odyssey—albeit virtually from my couch.
Ask me how I feel after I’ve done it, I may be wishing I was on the couch with you! 😉
Having walked the Camino in 2011, I remember the excitement and anticipation of that first day, and of the 40-some days that followed! I took the Valcarlos route, so I look forward to your pictures. Rest when you need to, use Vaseline or something similar on your feet, drink lots of water, enjoy the wine, and listen to every part of your body. Buen Camino to both of you!
How great that you’ve made the walk. I’m a basket of emotions tonight. And thank you for the wisdom, I’m sure my body will be screaming loudly and I won’t be able to ignore it! 😉