Day 1 – September 7, 2023
Checked in at Saint Jean about 8am after taking the train from Bayonne. Started walking about 8:30am, heading for Roncesvalles (26km away – over the Pyenees). About a 1,300 meter elevation gain before heading down the other side for the final 4 or 5 km.
To say it was an amazing day is to radically understate the matter. There were several moments throughout the day when I was completely overwhelmed and ready to cry from sheer joy and deep gratitude. Amazing vistas around every corner. Sheep and cows and horses covering the steep hillsides. Fresh local sheep cheese from a food truck for lunch. A seriously challenging walk to the top of the mountains. More breathtaking views. Being able to walk and breathe after that 26km walk. And finding a bed at a large former monastery at the end of the day. so many fellow pilgrims along the way. How many times did I say and/or hear “Hola!” and “Buen Camino!” What an experience this is!
Here are photos from day 1: