Hiking the Camino de Santiago France/Spain travel blog







Day 1 St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles 25km, 8 hours.

There are two routes from St Jean to Roncesvalles, the Napoleon Route and the Valcarlos route, (road route). With great weather predicted I took the harder but much more beautiful Napolean route.

Leaving St Jean I walked down the beautiful main street and started walking uphill through the old town gate. The Camino signs are impossible to miss, generally a yellow arrow somewhere, and unless you are walking mid winter there was also a steady stream of pilgrims in front of and behind me. My lunch was packed and my water bottle full, I was ready!

The Camino is not a sprint, it is a marathon; as I discovered today. Although the walk up the Pyrenees was difficult its well worth it. The views are jaw dropping, it's right up there in my top 5. There was basically 20km of straight uphill gaining 1400m then sharp turn down hill. I walked most of the day on my own, just wanting to soak it all up.

Approaching Roncesvalles I could see the monastery below nestled in the valley surrounded by trees. Naturally tne path goes straight down the hill side and is so steep it felt like I was walking down a cliff face.

The monastery has been completely decked out inside for pilgrims, 4 beds to a dorm pod, hot showers, laundry and a restaurant. Basically everything I need.

Alburgues have a strict lights out and no noise policy from 10pm, by which time I was ready to pass out as was everyone else.

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