Day 1 – St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles -26km

Well my Camino got off to a great start today when I was thrown out of a shop in St Jean this morning ! . I kid you not. I wandered in to a shop and was trying out some walking poles when a French Pilgrim came up to me and said I shouldn’t buy poles as they were for tourists and proper Pilgrims buy a wooden stick. The proprietor then joined a discussion as to the appropriate sized stick for me and it became apparent that they didn’t agree on this. They began to argue and this escalated into a full scale row whilst I watched on in disbelief. She then chucked the two of us out of the shop !

Things improved thereafter when I found the route out of town and met up with a group of 5 girls from Dublin and a girl from Nottingham who were all walking together. It was a fantastic day for walking , nice temperature and breeze. We had a steady ascent through a pass over the Pyrenees and crossed the border into Spain. We walked together all day from 8.30am to 6.00pm and it was nearly all climbing until the last few kilometres of descent into Roncesvalles . The pictures below show the fantastic scenery. A highlight for me were a pair of Red Kites that were drifting on the thermals just 50yds from us when we were sitting down for lunch. The girls were great company all day and we shared a couple of beers and had dinner together tonight. There are loads of walkers from all over the world staying here in an extension to the Monastery in Roncesvalles , which serves as the Refugio. A young Japanese lass has just shown me some stretching exercises which nearly dislocated both my hips ! Feet are ok with no sign of blisters yet. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

St Jean Pied de Port
The crazy Pilgrim who got us thrown out of the shop
Early morning St Jean Pied de Port

Pauline and Catherine
Albergue at Orisson

Gail from Nottingham


6 thoughts on “Day 1 – St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles -26km

  1. Hi Danny
    Glad to hear that you have started well and enjoyed your first day. I intend to follow your journey and read your blogs with the children at school. They will get a kick out of learning about the pilgrimage and about your highs and lows! Hope you don’t mind keeping the lingo respectable – James, Kat and Claire say hello by the way. Fiona and Martin

  2. Joe

    Hi Dad,
    Glad to hear the first day was alright! Pictures look good and you’ll be happy to hear it rained all day here in manchester. I hope you managed to get a good pair of sticks… The french lady brings me visions of Sister Assumpta in Father Ted at lent! Have fun tomorrow and keep updating us!

  3. Clive barker

    Looks amazing Danny! We’ve had more rain in the last 24 hours in NW England than is usual for the whole of September, so I’m sure a lot of us will be enjoying a better ‘virtual Autumn’ via your travels. Hope you don’t get thrown out of anywhere else! All the Best, Clive

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