Day 1 of the Camino de Santiago – St. Jean Pied de Port – Roncesvalles

August 26, 2011

Some people do the Camino de Santiago for fun.  I´m still not quite convinced why.  I thought I was ready for it, it sounded so much easier than our Appalachian Trail in the states, and it is…but our first couple of days were HARD! The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage route across the north of Spain to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, which supposedly houses the remains of the apostle St. James.  There are several different routes and several different starting points but we chose to start in the modern day starting point of St. Jean Pied de Port, a small town in France near the Spanish border.  Here are a few pictures of this quaint little town.
Bright and early the next morning at 6:30am we headed out, knowing that the hardest day on the trail laid before us.  We hiked 26km up the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles in Spain.  Despite the torture of the inclines, the aches and pains and the dehydration, we enjoyed some spectacular views.
 All along the trail are markers showing the way and pilgrims lay stones on many of them.
 Here was a beautiful place where many pilgrims chose to rest.  There was a statue of the Virgin Mary, an example of many of the religious relics along the way.
 After our intense climb up, we had an equally intense climb down.  Who knew that descents are worse on the body?
 Finally, dead tired we arrived to the monastery “albergue” in Roncesvalles where we enjoyed a shower and a good night´s sleep for the next day.


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