Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Circle Tour 2014--Day 7

Day 7, June 17To Saint Jean Pied de Port, France

The last half of this blog post shows us arriving in St. Jean Pied-de-Port after our coldest, rainiest day. Our accommodation was in a small village a few miles from the town. This year we will be right in town.

A memory from last year was when I accidentally broke some small souvenir glasses in a tourist shop. I paid for them and tried to leave a gift with the shop attendant. That's when the French word for 'gift' came back to me, after decades since high school French--cadeau! 

We are now in this charming town that swells and swarms with tourists and pilgrims of el Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James).

We have come across many today. On a touristy stop to see a medieval bridge, I talked to a peregrino, sitting at the top of the bridge eating his lunch (in the red t-shirt). He had been on the road 45 days already, all the way from Aachen, Germany. He walks an average of 35 km per day. He says he has 20 days left to his destination, Finisterre. According to him, and the myth he is following, it is the true burial spot of St. James. He was inspired by the story or legend that says St. James' bones were carried from Aachen to Finisterre, a little beyond Santiago de Compostela. That route is called el Camino de las Estrellas.

Nearby there was a star in the sidewalk. Can you see it? Could it be related in any way?

The countryside we drove through was incredibly beautiful. There is no way to do it justice with a random snapshot as we are driving.

At lunch time we happened upon an eatery by the road and were delightfully surprised by the variety of cold cuts, all local pork products. One was called Jesus PaysBasque. I wonder why?

The cyclists took a different route and stopped at the same inn as we did last year in Roncesvalles--La Posada. This time there was room at the inn, no crowds trying to come in from the rain and warm up and they were able to get a bite to eat.

And soon we were all together at the Ramuntxo in Donibane Garazi (Basque for St. Jean Pied de Port).

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