|"We Made It!"|
Hello and good greetings to you from St. Jean Pied-de-Port!!
This is the big mid-way mark of my trip. Though, in reality, I crossed my mid-way mileage two days ago in Sauvelade, St. Jean has been the decided marker to say, that my trip is now beginning its slow descent into final. 800km remain, one pair of shoes and hundreds of pilgrims yet to meet. Today, is a day off, where my feet get a deserved rest, I wash my clothes ala machine and plan my route through Spain. Wait you might be thinking, don't you already have this detail sorted? Well yes. Yes I did but as everything in life, plans change, or have the capability to change. Through talking to many of the pilgrims, I have been considering taking a different route, abandoning the Camino Frances, which is the traditional route, and instead take the Camino del Norte. Both are roughly the same distances, but the the north route follows the coast, offering a coastal landscape and more importantly cooler weather. I have been in great thought the last few days trying to decide which route to take, but today, after much research, I am feeling more excited to take the northern route. Nearing the end of the Camino del Norte, I will drop south picking up the Camino Primitivo, which is another older route to Santiago (as well as more difficult as it crosses through the Asturian mountains...but what's a little adventure and push before reaching the end?). So in all, I will add 13 extra km to my route, and I am excited to see some water.
|My trailside companions|
Tomorrow, I will say goodbye to France. For the past month, every single day I have eaten Brie/Camembert, and feel that I have had my fill, looking forward to taking a break from the two. My feet, I think are taking on the smell of the stronger cheeses, and though I have washed my socks several times they continue to leak a toxic smell that makes me a little nervous while in public! But part of that is because for the past week, it has been rain on the trail. Rain in the morning, drizzle in the afternoon, clouds clouds clouds galore. But, with all the clouds there is a silver lining. For 9 days, I have travelled with a companion named Magdelana from Germany. We met in Cahors, and realized that we were making the same journey, with long days due to the amount of time we had to work with. Almost immediately, it was decided that we would travel together to St. Jean and then see if it would be time to split or continue onwards together. We had a plan and the challenge lay ahead of us. That challenge: getting to St. Jean in 9 days, travelling a total of 356.5 km which works out to be 39km roughly each day. When we shared our plan with other pilgrims, they looked at us with horror, and said very firmly: not possible. But when two minds are set anything is possible, even if it is ridiculous! And I am happy to say, we made it, feet and head still very much intact, and the two of us: good friends. It has been fun to travel with another person, as now experiences can be shared, and is nice to have a friend throughout the day. It is also an adjustment, as you are no longer of thinking for one.
|Magdalena on the move!|
For now, I will sign off, find my lodgings for tonight, and continue wandering about St. Jean, savouring my final hours in France. Maybe I will be luckily and the clouds will break for a moment so that I may catch a small glimpse of the Pyrenees. Hope all is well back on the home front....thank-you for all the stories and tid bits from home. Such a treat and have loved reading each one. Until the next, happy trails ahead, and big hugs from Pays Basque!
|Fog in the Valley|
|Sun rising against a quiet chapel|
|Front of the line, Tour de France; Figeac, FR|