Friday, September 23, 2022

Day 1  Saint Jean Pied de Port to Orisson, France  September 22, 2022

I had a lousy sleep but I still was able to make the 8 km walk to Orisson. Breakfast was at seven and pretty good.  We had omelettes - a little protein is always a good thing when you have a strenuous walk ahead-

I was on the road by 8:15-

and dropped off my luggage at the courier office – they make two trips to Santiago every month so I will pick up my larger backpack once I arrive in hopefully 37 days.   It was either the Korean or the Japanese girl who left at 3 o’clock this morning! I can’t imagine because it’s dark until 7:30.  Maybe she only has a week to walk the whole 800 km. I’m not sure.

Leaving SJPP there was a sign saying that Orisson was 8 km away and that should take two hours. Two hours I thought?  Are you kidding me?  For 8 km? I checked my phone and it was 8:45.

Along the way-

The Pyrenées are small mountains but very beautiful. I’m on the Napoleon route which is not passable in the winter.

Most of the 7.4 km was uphill and worse like hole #3 at the golf course-

We walked on a small highway and I had to be really careful that I was on the edge when a car went by because there wasn’t much room for me and it.  Arriving in Orisson at 10:45, exactly 2 hours to the minute!, I could hear a vehicle coming up behind me and so I moved right off the road onto the grass because there was a path. A tractor with a cart went by and I think if I had been on the road either he’d have hit me or he’d have had to go in the ditch.  That kind of scared me so I will be making sure I get off the road from now on!  The French are very patient with we Pellegrinos. I have not once heard a horn and some of these silly people walk in the middle of the road as well as on the right side.

Orisson Is nothing more than a restaurant-

dorms for 28 people and a lovely patio-

It’s a big rest/lunch stop for pilgrims and many carried on to Roncesvalles which is another 18 km away.  It’s where I will spend tomorrow night.  I decided I better make a reservation this afternoon because there is talk that the albergues are full and that would be very bad if I got there after a long day of many kilometres only to have to keep walking to try to find a spot in the next village.  

At the pilgrim supper tonight-

we all introduced ourselves, said where we are from and where we hope to go.  There are 3 Québecers, 2 from Toronto and a woman from Saskatoon and me.  It’s a time to make connections that will  continue throughout the walk as we are all on the same schedule, more or less.  

Today I met Tracy from San Francisco, Helle from Norway and my roommates are from Israel, Florida, The Netherlands and North Carolina.  Except for the two women from the Netherlands, we are all single women travelling alone. 

Tomottow’s walk will be easier than today’s but it may rain.  I hope the French/Spanish weather people are as “accurate” as ours!

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