We leave in the rain. Our hotel owner doesn’t offer to drive us back to Ostabat to pick up the walk where we left off and we’re fine with that. We’re happy to have a little less far to go today. We move quickly despite the rain. Perhaps it’s the presence of so many other pilgrims on the road, many of whom walk faster than we do.
We’re definitely all heading towards the jump off point for the crossing of the Pyrenees, one feels, though it’s hard to tell yet in which valley we’ll end up.
We arrive in Saint Jean Pied de Port in the afternoon and have our picture taken in front of the Porte St Jacques.
Something very strange has happened.
Before we started this year’s walk, we had walked 1621 km. This year’s walk from Perigueux to Ostabatwas 356 km.
That adds up to 1977 km. The walk from Ostabat to St Jean Pied de Port, legendary gateway to the Camino Frances is 23 km...
That’s exactly 2000 km from my old house in the Poortstraat in Utrecht to the Porte St Jacques in Saint Jean Pied de Port!
We arrive at the Pilgrims Visitor Center we’re a little disconcerted to encounter a huge line outside the door so we continue to our hotel. When we try later, we can go right in. There’s a whole row of volunteers talking to pilgrims in a variety of languages! We get a stamp for our Credencial, but not before we sit down and go over a map with the cheerful volunteer, showing all the danger spots we will need to avoid when we cross the mountains. The Catalan gentleman yesterday had assured it wasn’t going to be difficult but we can’t help getting caught up in the general feeling of nervousness and excitement that seems to pervade the whole town...