I am a bit late on blogging. It has been a bit different this time- navigating the distances and where to stay, but our first night was planned ahead of time and a great send off.
We left Rochester on Friday to Paris, and after a 4 hour lay over flew to Bairtz. A 4o minute car ride later we were in St. Jean de Pied Port. It is a 16th century walled city at is the foothills of the Pyrenees. It was the defensive foot-hold with wars against Spain.
Today, it has a population of 1800 that serve tourists, hill walkers, and pilgrims. It has become the principle gateway to the Camino and the tradition starting point for pilgrims all over world.
We got our Credential del Peregrino and welcomed advice – in mostly part English part french- on directions out of town, water stops, and a limitless speech on how steep the climb is and to take it very slow. I was asked by the elderly women that was helping me if I understood anything she said. I reached back to 8th grad french class and shyly admitted “un peu, madam, merci beaucoup.” I received a warm smile and my first “Beun Camino”. My first gift of the journey.