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Camino de Santiago 2018

Day 1 - Arrived in St. Jean Pied de Port, France

FRANCE | Friday, 25 May 2018 | Views [202]

Great journey from Phoenix to France--it took 22 hours from door to door, but it was a good time to read and watch movies we've missed this year. A prearranged taxi picked us up at the Pamplona airport to drive us to France. She is clearly a grandaughter of Mario Andretti! It was an exciting drive...best not to provide details other than to say she topped out at speeds of 129 kmh (max speed posted was 80 kmh) and Jeff had his head out the window for the last half of the very winding journey trying not to toss his cookies. We arrived at Hotel Central, a bit wobbly kneed, but it's a beautiful place to rest before we begin our hike. Beautiful courtyard at Hotel Central.

Central Hotel ST Jean

 

The city is surrounded by a fort used over the centuries by sheperds/sheep, Roman legions, Charlemagne's army, and the troops of Ferdinand the Catholic and Charles V, and later by Napoleon's soldiers. Jeff is fascinated by the gun ports.

Pilgrims gather in St. Jean to begin the first leg of their journey to Santiago de Compostela. The first day requires a trek through the Pyrenees. The morning starts at 594 ft. and peaks at 4,719 before dropping down into the town of Roncesvalles. 

There are portions of the remaining fort walls throughout the city.

Tomorrow we buy our hiking sticks, can't carry them on the plane, and explore St. Jean. We will reorgainze our packs for the trek over the mountain and lay out yards and yards of moleskin for the "tenderfoot." It's our first visit to France and we are really enjoying this little corner of a beautiful country.

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