Thursday, April 3, 2014

Le Puy-en-Velay

As I write this first entry from Camino Le Puy or, as the French say, Chemin du Puy, I have spent just a little more than 24 hours in this truly beautiful town. After a journey of around 36 hours - 2 planes, 2 trains and a bus - I arrived in Le Puy-en-Velay at 7pm on Wednesday night. Within the hour, I was enjoying a wonderful reunion dinner with Sheryl ,Glenn and Bob - and some new Camino friends. 

A few words about my long journey to get here. It was great!  And that's entirely thanks to my dear friend Rosanne who, when she heard I was coming back this year for my third Camino, announced that she was going to use some of her frequent flyer points to get me to Paris and back in the 'business end' of the plane. And she would hear no argument! I am still overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness and generosity. I stopped pinching myself only long enough to take advantage of my BED to get some sleep. No wonder I felt so bright eyed when I arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle with a few hours to kill before the second part of my journey. Thank you Rosanne. 

While the almost 17,000 kms from Sydney to Paris took 24 hours, the next 540 kms from Paris to Le Puy was to take almost another 12 hours!  A train from Paris to Lyon, another from Lyon to Firminy, then, due to track work, a bus from Firminy to Le Puy. And the waiting time between connections. But, as it turned out, I saw a familiar face on the last leg. When I arrived in Firminy, there was an hour to wait, literally on the side of the road, for the bus to Le Puy. As I walked towards the bus stop I saw a group of 4 who looked like they could be pilgrims. As I came closer, one of the group waved at me and I realised it was Bob whom I'd last seen in Leon on the Camino Frances in 2013. He and his group (his daughter and two friends who will walk with him for first 150 kms) had flown in to Lyon that morning and had arrived in Firminy on an earlier train. 

We travelled together for the two hour bus ride, then walked 20 minutes to our hotel. The first people we saw in the foyer were Sheryl and Glenn. They were talking with Marco, a Canadian they had met on the train earlier that day. By 8 we were sitting down to dinner - photo below. Sheryl and Glenn and I picked up where we left off, when Jill, Martin and I bid them adios in Santiago de Compostela less than a year ago. 

And so to today which was busy! So much to explore  - and, even after just one day, too much to write about tonight as there's much to be done before our early start tomorrow.  But one of the must do activities today, along with the sightseeing, was to visit the pilgrims office inside the Cathedrale Notre-Dame du Puy to register for our Creanciale du Pelerin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle.  Those of you who followed the earlier Caminos may remember this as the credenciale or pilgrims passport. We will collect a stamp from each gite or chambre d'hôtel in which we stay. And we each chose our scallop shell, which has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago to identify pilgrims. Mine is now securely tied to the back of my pack. 

Back to tomorrow.  We will meet for breakfast soon after 6am, with packs ready to go. As is the tradition for the Chemin du Puy, we will attend the pilgrims blessing at the Cathedrale at 7am and, from there, we will walk down the Cathedrale steps and begin to look for the waymarking that will take us over the next month or so to St Jean Pied de Port, and further.  

Tomorrow is a tough climb. I can't wait to start!!  

Buen Camino. Bon Chemin.

J x

PS. Thank you to Mary P. and Jan C. for your emails and good wishes. Wonderful to hear from you. 


  1. Sounds like a great start Jenny. How I envy you!. Lovely city and those food shops.I know Roseanne will be as pleased as you were with such a great flight. Happy travelling from all of us. Mum xx

  2. Hi Jenny, glad you had a good trip. Looking forward to the daily updates. Good luck, Marian

  3. Off to a great start then & lovely pictures. Good luck and hope it all goes really well! Pam xx

  4. Hi Jenny - I am now up to date on your travels so far. The blog entries and photos are wonderful. I am looking forward to further updates which I will read on my daily train commute from Gymea Bay to the Caminos - direct xx ange