Friday, May 1, 2015

3 days in

Learning curve: trying to remember how to continue my blog using a Spanish keyboard. I still have to learn how to post photographs. I am sure I´ll manage, but the physical component of the journey has overridden my ability to think clearly. Besides, the Spanish Spell-Check marks this complete English text in red underlines. That´s exactly how my papers came back to me in High School.

A quick synopsis: arrived in Biarritz on Ryan Air. The first challenge was to use my debit card at the airport to buy Euros. It´s a small airport but there is only one ATM machine and it´s not working. I have a reservation for hotel accommodation in Bayonne, which is 7.5 kilometers away. I don´t feel like walking, even if it were possible before the hotel closes for the night. At the Airport information office, a sympathetic staff member gives me the one Euro bus fare. They say that the Camino provides what you need and when you need it. Learning to trust that is the most difficult  part.

My hotel for the night

My walk started at St. Jean Pied de Port the following morning, and I have decided I want to manage the whole journey across the Pyrenees into Spain in one day. That is 26 kilometers provided I don´t get lost. In theory, that walk will take a minimum of seven hours although last time, five years ago, it took me eleven hours because of my bad knee.

Starting in St. Jean Pied de Port

Kingdom for a horse?
The ascent starts immediately outside the town of St. Jean and it seems even more grueling physically than the last time. However, the seventeen-year-old in me, for some really odd reason, is alive and well. I seem to have discovered God because at each step of the way I notice I am using the Vocative case: "Oh, God." Ten hours later I arrive in Roncesvalles on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and my accommodation for the night. I am too stunned to make a coherent sentence. How am I going to manage similar walks for the next thirty-odd days? Like five years ago, I wonder whether I might be better off lying on a beach in Ibiza for the month.
Ascending the Pyrenees

A little bit of snow

Descending into Roncesvalles in Spain

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