We arrived in Bayonne around 10:30 pm.

Our hotel, Monte Carlo

We registered, picked up the walking sticks, Swiss army knife and other sharp objects we mailed on ahead from the States. I was pretty adamant that we only have carry on luggage so we wouldn’t have to deal with baggage claim delays or lost luggage.

We were dead tired and had a great night’s sleep. We were up bright and early to make our train connection to St. Jean Pied du Port. We met a lovely couple on the train from Australia and they too were going to hike the Camino.

We all registered together at the pilgrim office, had breakfast together at a small cafe and then parted ways.

Registering at the pilgrim office in St Jean. 

Saying good bye to Rick and Carol

Marc and I hiked directly on to begin our climb up the French side of the Pyranees and our hostel in Orisson.

Getting ready to climb to Orisson

The beginning of the climb was leisurely and quite easy to be honest (obviously we were lulled into a false sense of security).

The beginning…

We began that day’s climb reciting all the names of all the people we brought with us and whose intentions we promised to remember and carry with us along our journey. It was very much like praying the/a litany of the Saints. Both of us found this to be a very moving experience; to recall and remember so many who helped support us in so many ways. It’s become a daily ritual when we start out anew each day.

As for that ‘lull of security’, that was shattered not too much further into the climb. I heard Marc say “Mon Dieu, gird your loins”. I looked up and saw what lay ahead of us. Mon Dieu indeed! This was going to be no picnic of a climb. The scenery, the vistas, the various animals roaming all around us made the climb well worth it. We had prepared for this journey and trained as best we could. It obviously helped but as we were soon to find out the terrain of the climb was more rugged than we envisioned and would get even moreso.

Arriving at Orisson after a long and arduous 1st day climb.

The climb was very rigorous and we eventually made it to our hostel at Orisson. This was a delightful experience; dinner with all our fellow pilgrims, introductions easily made, so many countries represented and languages being spoken but then of course it was early to bed, lots of snorers. The journey had begun. We were constantly pinching ourselves as it was still so amazing to us where we were and all the places that lay ahead.