The Camino to Santiago

Days 1 and 2 – St. Jean to Roncevalles

Three dark angels lead the way out of Roncevalles. Photo: Pam Illingworth

Twenty five kilometers over the Pyrenees is no joke under any circumstances. Add a 8kg pack, no training and jet lag and it’s bad!

A few weeks before leaving I’d decided to stay over halfway at Orisson and got booked into their overflow gite at Kayola. Turned out to be a good choice, considering.

The first few kms out of St Jean aren’t too bad. Plenty of undulating hills through green fields and guest houses.

Then, suddenly, a few hundred meters before the hotel at Honnto, everything changes.

A do-able walk becomes a very very steep uphill climb.

With my pack and my fitness (both bad) a pleasant walk quickly became not so pleasant.

The path veers off the road across the fields. The only redeeming feature for me was the stunning scenery. Vultures overhead seemed to be searching for fallen pilgrims! I’m sure they weren’t.

Two hours later I actually made it!

The whole walk from St. Jean to Orisson took me three hours. The Orisson Refugio kind of appears suddenly around a corner when you least expect it.

I was definitely pretty pleased to see it.











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