And this journey will require many, many more than the first one- though that first one is so important.
Today was the first walking day on the Camino. Despite separate rooms, a late lunch/early dinner, an evening glass of wine, neither of us slept well last night. We left St. jean at 7:20 and though still fighting jet lag fatigue started out in good spirits. The clouds began to sprinkle us with light showers, but neither Toni or I mentioned this, perhaps in an effort to deny the rain demons greater joy than we felt as we headed out.
The climb started gradually, but quickly turned into a steep uphill ascent. I kept mentally reminding myself that I was in shape and ready, but the trail and steep incline soon began to erode my confidence. After an hour we arrived at a small cafe at Huntto and got some well needed coffee and ate half of the sandwich that we picked up the previous evening in St. Jean. The view was beautiful and the short stop and caffeine helped fuel the next portion.
The climb was tough, trail very steep but determined to get to the top, we took it slow and steady, still trying to find each of our pace and rhythm. We stopped at the Alberque in Orisson, for a short rest and shared a delicious bowl of soup. It was fun chatting with others as we answered the “Camino questions” … Where are you from, how far do you hope to go…why are you walking the Camino? This usually ends with an introduction of names, so different than meeting people at home where the name is first. It seems that on the Camino your home town and your travel become your identifiers.
We continued the climb with a steady pace challenged by our goal of reaching the top. Along the Camino, the view was so beautiful as we ascended higher over the pyrennes.
Enticed to continue by the beautiful scenery that became more beautiful the higher we climbed. Mountain griffons circled overhead as we checked our feet and changed our socks. We joked that perhaps we looked so tired that we would’ve mistaken for dead or dying animals on which these buzzards prey. We encountered a field of horses high in the Pyrennees grazing and keeping an eye on us.
We were so excited to reach the summit and after a brief photo we began the steep decline to Roncevalles
The hotel was luxurious and dinner delicious!
Great first day – Buen Camino