(I’m having some frustration with WiFi and have removed some photos. )
The travel by sitting is over – tedious flight from Toronto to Paris, bus from CDG to Orly airport, flight to Biarritz/Bayonne, where I had a cheap room (€35 without private bath at the Hotel Monte Carlo) near the train station. This morning I had a station breakfast with an Internet forum friend, Margaret, who is coincidentally starting on the same day. She is 77 or 78 and this is her 11th Camino. She takes about 7 weeks to walk the 800 km.
On the 1-hour train/bus trip there were half a dozen other pilgrims. We straggled our way to the pilgrims’ office in St. Jean and found places to stay. Margaret and I had lunch and then said goodbye until Roncesvalles in 2 days. She is taking the road and valley route while I am taking the Napoleon route over the Pyrenees.
Tonight I will stay in the same place as last year – Beilari – since they have a nice communal dinner. Now that the busy season is over, there’s lots of choice.
I’ve been wandering the town this afternoon, trying to adjust to jet lag but not over-exert myself. Now sitting on a bench watching traffic in a roundabout.
Time to head to the refuge to meet my roommates. As the first arrival I got a good bed in a room for only 3 people!
Later… I’m lying in bed in a room by myself, 10 pm, looking forward to the morning. Only 6 other pilgrims here tonight: a group of 3 (2 Americans plus a German, together since they met on a previous camino), a pair of brothers-in-law from the UK, and a German. Only the German is intending to walk to Santiago on this trip. They are all such nice people that it is already sad that they’ll be leaving after a week, but the Camino will provide other companions!