I literally don’t sleep. With hundreds of flies and the odd mosquito, what do you expect?! I even jar my neck in the night…. Aaaargh….
Finally sleep, knock knock, it’s Annette. Half past six, oh today’s gonna be a barrel of laughs…
I’m up packed and ready to roll, I pinch an orange off the breakfast table, I don’t stop to eat, much to the disappointment of the owner! She & her husband have been so so kind! I pay 7€ for dinner bed & breakfast. If there’s one photograph worth printing from my trip, these people should get a copy.
7.15am and Annette and I head off. Back on the trail to find the GR65. I realised last night that by coming here to Uhart-Mixe we have missed the point where three of the four French routes join, I’m disappointed, but I’m not going to walk backwards just to find it!
Today is a long day, but all in all it’s enjoyable. I point out butterflies, finches, mice, snakes and caterpillars to Annette and best of all I see my first Griffin Vulture, then nearly two dozen of them!
The landscape reminds me of the Lake District, rolling hills turn to fells, with mountains to frame them. It’s just so beautiful.
The sun has been forcing grey clouds away all morning, finally it breaks through. Lucky for us there is a lot of shade today.
We stop for coffee in one village, a five minute breather in another villages church porch. Then a beer in St-Jean-le-Vieux. Only four kilometres to go. We have walked slowly again today, it’s coming up to 3pm.
By four we are walking down into St-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Danielle our host is standing outside the gite on the ‘rue du citadel’, she recognises us immediately and calls us by name? Do they have descriptions of all the pilgrims, or do we just stand out from the crowd?!
After our tour to see where the toilets & showers are, I dump my bags and go for a wander. The town is pretty and obviously a tourist attraction. I bump into familiar faces at every turn. So many faces I recognise, greeting people from all over Europe. As I walk back towards the gite I bump into Michael, I assumed he’d be on his way back to Canada by now. I tell him I arrived with Annette, he walks with me to the gite to see her.
After my shower I wash my clothes and then go out again for another wander. I buy more suncream and some food for tomorrow. On the way back I’m met with almost a dozen fellow pilgrims that I know outside the church. It’s decided that we all eat together tonight. Annette has already told me she wants to buy me dinner, which I’d agreed to earlier in the day. I knew she would not take no for an answer, she’d seen my parents worry for me. I guess she was carrying on the responsibility…
I ran (yes really) my shopping up the hill. Before heading back down to meet everyone. We go for a beer, the wind picks up and pub umbrellas scatter everywhere. Michael, myself and a Frenchman help to collect the debris. Everyone else arrives and soon we head to a little bar for food. It’s raining now, my washing is out….pants (literally)!!
After dinner we have a quick drink at the hotel Michael and a few others are staying at. Annette and I have to be back by 10pm otherwise we get locked out…. We get back in time and Danielle bless her has brought my washing in!
I plan to leave early tomorrow, 5.30am. I say goodbye to France and hello to Spain.
I’ve walked 740km give or take in 30 days, with one whole day off and a couple of half days. I’m tired, less grumpy today, my left foot is still swollen. I’m so proud I’ve come this far. I thank my ma & pa for being so supportive (they’re on their way home today). I’ve had ups and downs, but mainly ups I think? I’ve taken in so much but it’s made me realise how lucky I’ve been in life so far.
For those of you who have never been out in the great outdoors, you don’t realise what you’re missing!
Ok it’s late, someone’s snoring and my alarm is set for 5.30am… Spain here I come….!