Day 1 – 24.07.2-17 – 808.6km to go

Bayonne-St Jean Pied de Port-Huntto-Orrisson-Roncevalles.

After checking out of the hotel it was time to head off to the train station to collect ticket. Not as easy as it should have been as the booking ref I wrote down from the website was nothing like the right one ti print the tickets. All sorted after a little help and just managed to get to the train with a minute to spare. What an enchanting journey it was up through the valley and certainly worth a trip to SJPdP fur the day in its own right.

Next was a quick trip up to the pilgrims' office to check in (they like their statistics) and collect any last minute information on the route. It became clear that most folk start this journey from St Jean to Roncevalles earlier in the day – oh well im committed now! A short walk out of the town and im on my way again at around 09:30.

They weren't kidding when they said it was a hard slog uphill out of town. Pretty much hard uphill all the way to Orrisson (ounctuated by seemingly a constant coat-on coat-off routine until the weather settled in for a proper dounpour) where I broke for an early lunch of vegetable soup, bread and a coffee.

Following lunch the steep slog continued in the constant deluge until finally reaching the highest point – I even missed the France-Spain border in the rain – by this point the boots had filled with water that had run down my legs 🙁

Distracted by the snack seller (I didn't buy anything) I forgot to heed the advice and turn right to take the simpler road down to Roncevalles. Instead I followed the signs straight down (in a literal sense, almost) and took the steeper direct route. Although I quickly realised my mistake, the thought of going back up hill gas far from appealing. Eventually made it down, only slipping on the clay path twice, and arrived at Roncevalles.

Checked into my bunk at the Alberge and time for a shower and change of clothes before I headed off for dinner at 20:30. Pasta to start with Turkey leg (or chicken could have been either) and fries, all washed down with a glass of red.

Back at my bunk there was just enough time to send some texts before it was light out (and seemingly wifi too).

31822 steps
19.7 miles
1449 meter elevation gain