Bonjour mes amies
I'm here in Saint Jean Pied de Port, the last town on the beautiful Chemin du Puy. It's my third visit to SJPP. But this time I arrived on foot, walked into town from a different direction, and will stay two nights. It's a beautiful town. And I like the sense of familiarity. I'm happy to be here.
Just a brief update today. Shortly I'm going to tear myself away from my gorgeous chambre d'Hote to wander around, and visit the pilgrims office for my final Chemin du Puy stamp. Walking through the main village on arrival you can't help but notice the 'complet' signs. I am so grateful to Pierre for warning me that accommodation was tight and finding this lovely restful place for me. Dominique is here too - and completely by accident is sharing a room with his Suisse friend Ramon. An extraordinary coincidence - the sort that somehow seems commonplace on the Camino. Serendipity.
I have a busy schedule for the rest of today - and tomorrow. Delphine, Dominique and I have arranged to meet at 5 at the pilgrims office. I suspect we will find a suitable venue for a celebratory du vin. Pierre invited me to dinner tonight so I'm looking forward to that. I'll pop in to his hiking store beforehand (it's opposite the pilgrims office), say hi and make a time.
Tomorrow, I'm going to be a reverse pilgrim (ie walking in the opposite direction) for the first time - at least for the first time intentionally. Sheryl and Glenn are staying tonight in a small village about 20 kms before SJPP so we've arranged that I will walk back along The Way until I meet them, and we will have a few hours walking in to SJPP together. I can't wait to see them. They'll come back to my lovely room and 'freshen up' before leaving by train later in the day. Then tomorrow night an early dinner with Dominique, Delphine and probably a few others. I'm crossing my fingers we will see Max and Sebastian - last I heard they were hoping to arrive here by this evening, having spent an extra day at l'Alchimiste in Navarrenx.
As for Saturday, I'm hoping to cross The Pyrenees into Roncesvalles, Espana - by the Route Napoleon or Route Valcaros (perhaps with Dominique and Delphine?). I'm trying mot to think too much about it - I know from experience that it will be a tough day whichever way I go. The route will depend on the weather and advice from the pilgrims office. I'm not sure how far I will walk from there (as I have to make my way back to Paris by the 8th) - but I think Pierre will have some good advice for me tonight.
Also, I'm a little apprehensive about pilgrim numbers. I've never been here at this time of year (it's a month later than when Jill and I set out last year). May has become one of the most popular times to walk the Camino Frances and it's easy to see there are many more pilgrims around. Perhaps I should see if the beautiful Hotel Roncesvalles has a room available, rather than take my chances in the albergue! I don't think I'll need much convincing. Will let you know.
Before I go. Thanks so much for being in touch - Dad and Elaine, Cathy, Joan, Deb and Mandi. And for your call Rosanne. I've really enjoyed our chats along The Way!
Until tomorrow. A demain. Hasta Luego.