Saturday, 20 August 2011

Baptism of fire day 1

Nervously leaving sant jean pied du port in darkness we stopped off at the church to say a little prayer, through the spanish gate and on upwards. After a euphoric 3 hour trek uphill with me feeling giddy with bliss we decided to continue from orrison to - 25 km in total mainly uphill with a steep decline to end. I can only really describe it like a baptism of fire for me. It was tough and I was slow but the scenery was breath-taking. We ascended through mists of confusion, over lush green mountain tops. We were followed by butterflies of transformation, passed dewy spiders' webs and descended through silent endless forest. Sometimes I talked to the animals and insects along the way, sometimes they answered me back like the horse that stood in my way and suggested an easier incline. I could almost feel my heart melting as i breathed in the nature all around me. And of course there were some wonderful people along the way. The French guy who runs a little tuck shop at the French / Spanish border in the middle of the pyrennes. 50 cents for a boiled egg (I swear that was the best egg of my life!) He lives in his tuck shop van for three months a year racking up a daily tally of pilgrim nationalities on the side of it (100 today alone). When I was all but spent on yet another sharp incline I found a biscuit wrapped in a see through bag and taped to a pilgrim post with a post it note saying love from Leona! Turns out it was from a Dutch couple that were walking up ahead and had got talking to Leona and left the biscuit for me. A biscuit has never made me cry before but that one did. I eventually reached roncevalles a few hours behind Leona. we went to the mass for the pilgrims with a blessing said in at least 9 languages. Had a pilgrims dinner and then hit the sack in the beautiful new and totally spotless refugios. Yes the snoring pilgrim reputation is true. This is one stamp in my pilgrims passport that was very well earned. here's hoping my very sad toes miraculously recover over night.

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