Day 1 – St. Jean to Orisson

Posted from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.

Last night as dinner ended big storms blew through with lightening and wind. However, this morning was cool with mostly clear skies. I slept pretty well. Laszlo and Gabor started moving about at 6:30 so I decided to get up. There was a small breakfast downstairs of cereal, bread, jam and coffee. I messed with my stuff awhile and decided to get underway. I was the first one out of the albergue at 8:00 (slow group I guess). As I looked down the street I could see a few pilgrims headed out of town.

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And so I started to walk. It was mostly uphill but I just took it slow and steady. I’d exchange greetings as I passed others or more often they past me. The terrain slowly opened up as the elevation rose.

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My journey today was short and before long I saw a sign saying 30 minutes to Orisson, it was only 9:45!! So I found a shady spot and ate part of the lunch sandwich I had bought at the alburge. It was scrambled eggs, onions, peppers on french bread. Fabulous, and the views were amazing.

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After awhile I continued on and arrived at Orisson at 10:45. Check in wasn’t until 12:30 so I sat and watched the pilgrims arrive and move on (most aren’t staying here) and talked with Deanna from Holland. At 12:30 I checked in and started what I think is the daily ritual. Make my bed, try and arrange my stuff, take a shower (we only get one 5 minute shower), wash my clothes in the sink, hang them on the line to dry and try to take a nap. Tonight I’m in a room with 3 bunk beds, me and 5 women (2 US, 2 French, 1 From Holland). Now it’s 3:30!! I walked back down the road to a great view point and read and plan for tomorrow. At 5:00 I went back and had a beer on the patio and talked with a couple from Florida until dinner. Dinner was another group event for everyone staying at the Albergue (about 30 people). We had soup, pork, white beans, bread, and lots of wine. It was much better than I make it sound. I sat by an interesting woman from Singapore. She was originally from England but had been there for 35 year.

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Afterward I walked back down to a view back out of the mountains. I could see lightening off in the distance. It’s been a great first day of walking.

Walk 8 km
Elevation change 800 meters
15939 steps (total not just the walk)