There is something mystical about arriving at the start of the Camino. Pilgrims anxious but excited, meeting and greeting others, talk about "is the high route open?", stories they have heard about places to stay or not stay and lots of talk about food. It seems to be on everyone's mind.
Bayonne is really the start of it all. A French town near the Atlantic coast with a lovely river and fantastic restaurants along a canal. And the train to Saint Jean Pied de Port. The last time I was here the train wasn't running so we had to bus to Saint Jean. But today a modern relatively short train arrived late but following a much longer TGV from Paris which was loaded with pilgrims.
Once one actually arrives in Saint Jean then all the talk is about where to get your credentials and which Albergue is best.
The weather is spectacular. But the high route is still closed. Warnings from the authorities that you will be seriously fined if you try to go that route. That's all fine with me since I'm going the low route anyway.
Today was a perfect day. Arrived in SJPP (as it is locally called) and had lots of time to walk around the Citadel and through the town.
But I must reorganize my pack to get ready for the first days walk tomorrow. Hopefully this fine weather will hold for the first few days of walking.
Tomorrow in Valcarlos - higher in the Pyrenese. Then down down down to Roncescalles. If I make it through the first two days, the rest should be fine.