Monday, July 15, 2013

Circle Tour 13: on to St. Jean Pied-de-Port

Was this the wettest, coldest, most miserable day? Yes, but also joy filled.
It began with the arrival of our friends from Hondarribia. They phoned us while we were having our group meeting. We jumped up and ran down to meet Amaia's parents, Alberto and Edurne.  To our surprise two other friends had come along, Gonzalo and Imanol. All these guys had done La Pyrenéenne together in 2010, and climbed the Col du Tourmalet on the one hundredth anniversary of its inclusion in the Tour de France.

It was so exciting to see these friends that there was no time for photos. The camera came out later in the day, however.

So, we left the lovely hotel with shepherd theme art in the lobby and traveled to sheep country in France.

After seeing the cyclists off, Laurie and I rode with Edurne, grateful for the opportunity to visit with her.

We passed our cyclists and worried about them on this cold rainy day.

Top left: waiting for more cyclists to arrive, Tate already there.
Right top: Basque Adventure van; middle: Keith, smiling as he struggles up hill.
Bottom row: Sara, Edurne, Gonzalo, Iker, Dane, Gonzalo, Imanol
Our visiting cyclists were not quite prepared for this weather and were freezing. After 30 miles when they reached the first meeting point, the historic Roncesvalles, they decided to put dry clothes on and ride in the van the rest of the way.

Viki and Iker (lower middle photo) have a business called Basque Adventure. They joined us for the day and later wrote about the experience in their blog with a link to the video they shot that day--Americans in Euskal Herria. Viki also rode the first 30 miles and later wrote about our group: "they don´t easily get daunted by weather conditions and are constantly joyous."

Smiling in the rain: Alison and Ellie
A couple of us ventured out to see the famous historic landmarks of Roncesvalles.

We crossed into French Navarre to our destination St. Jean Pied-de-Port, Donibane Garazi in Basque.

Barb and I, the two oldest on the trip, often together, decided to get some tea and a bite to eat and sit a spell. After all it was already mid afternoon and we'd had no lunch. Besides we are not most eager shoppers.

Our accomodation for the night was in a lovely village setting some miles from town.

The cyclists arrived before we did. We, the walkers, must have dilly-dallied too long in town.
Our visiting friends helped work out the hotel accommodation for each one using their French language skills.
And then it was time to bid farewell and See you soon!

¡Adiós, amigos! ¡Hasta pronto!
We drove back into town for dinner.

Meals tended to be lengthy events and fun times together. The food always superb!

Surprise! Beds in France are actually double instead of the two side by side we'd been seeing all along in Spain.

France, Spain

Good night, sleep well!

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