Having completed 8 kms of The Route de Napoleon, I only had a little over 17 kms to trek before reaching the first Spanish village of Roncesvalles. The Route de Napoleon is the route that has the highest elevation of 1,450 m at Lepoeder lookout.
Although I was able to capture the sunrise at Orisson, the clouds soon moved in and I needed my headband, jacket and gloves for the major part of the journey. I started at 7:30 am and I walked into Roncesvalles at 1:24pm.
There were many pilgrims starting out early. Although my journey is solo, I passed many who had shared the evening meal with me in Orisson. I was surprised at how well my body felt with my backpack. In St. Jean Pied de Port, I purchased a small backpack that I could wear in the front and fasten backwards and then strap my larger pack over the straps of the smaller one. This, I found worked really well as the smaller straps provided some cushioning for the weight of the larger pack.
The views were spectacular with the low cloud cover nestling in the valley and the flocks of sheep dotting the hillsides and the birds of prey floating in the air currents.
The decent down into Roncesvalles was steep and the knees were starting to ache as I entered the village. I found the Auberge, got my passport stamped and went to Hotel Roncesvalles who is providing an evening pilgrim meal. At this moment, I am sitting in the reception area to access Wifi and update my blog.
My joys for this day:
A chorus from the bells of the sheep drifting over the hillside as they move along their grazing path.
The birds of prey circling and drifting with the currents in the sky above.
The two wonderful French men who had a snack wagon just before the Spanish border. What a delight to have a warm cup of coffee and purchase some fruit and cheese for along the way! The wind was really whistling and it was chilly. Many blessings to those men.
Today is March 1st 2013 and as I am writing my memoirs of my El Camino trip, and looking up more information about Roncevalles, I noticed you were at Orisson the same day I was there Sept. 1 2012 Uncanny
Anne if I remember correctly, you were part of the speedy Calgarians. I believe there were four in your group. After Orisson you left me in the dust. If you have blogged about your pilgrimage post your site so I can visit.
What was your favorite city? Would you do it again?