Saturday #93: A day in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

I plan to start walking the Camino de Santiago (Camino Frances) on Sunday so Saturday #93 was spent taking care of last minute odds and ends.

The first item on the agenda was finding the local post office. I did another “sort and purge” but this time, rather than donating unwanted items, I shipped them on to Santiago. They’ll be waiting for me at the local pilgrim’s office.

  There’s no need to lug items like this brass bell, which I purchased last week in Switzerland

Next up was a trip to an outdoors store where I purchased a rain poncho and two more patches for my backpack. I have a light hoodie, a lightweight down jacket, and a nylon rain coat with hood, but when it poured for a few minutes yesterday morning, I suddenly realized that none of these layers come close to covering my legs. The thought of walking 30km a day in cold, wet pants is not one I want to dwell on, hence the search for a long poncho like the ones that every other pilgrim was wearing around town. (Ponchos are the hottest thing in rainwear when you’re carrying a backpack.)

  The store also carried merino T-shirts, blister kits, and wide selection of embroidered patches. I chose two: a combo patch featuring the Camino logo and a Canadian flag. The lady running the shop turned out to be from Montreal. She’s been here four months and is seriously thinking about making it permanent. I suspect that she’s fallen in love with more than the Pyrenees but we didn’t get into that.

The next task was finding the Pilgrims’ Office and getting registered. This isn’t mandatory but if you want to stay at the municipal hostels along the way, and you do because they are cheap and include dinner, then you must be registered and carry a camino passport or credencial.  Each hostel will stamp your passport and you can only stay one night in each hostel or albergue. This discourages “tourists” and rewards those who are intent on doing the entire camino. If I opt to stay more than one day in any location I will have to spring for a hotel room. Once you get to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago you can have you show your credencial as proof that you walked the last 100 km as that’s the minimum requirement to receive a compostela (as if the blisters are not sufficient proof).

As you can see, Canada ranks 8th in terms of number of citizens to walk the Camino.   I’m not sure how we got the ALL CAPITAL treatment but I’m not complaining.

Finally, I checked into my hostel and met the basque owner/hospitalero, Antonio. That was just a few minutes ago so in my next post I’ll tell you a bit about this wonderful guesthouse / B&B / hostel / albergue / refugio or whatever you want to call it. First impressions are very good! That’s it on the left.

I’ll write daily trip notes while walking the Camino but don’t count on daily updates on the blog.  I will post my notes when I’m not too exhausted to write AND have a decent Internet connection.

2 Responses to “Saturday #93: A day in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port”

  1. Nancy Campbell

    I am so jealous of this part of your journey….I have always wanted to do this walk. Have fun!

  2. Peter Henning

    Last month you have posted a picture of a belt buckle with following quote :
    “Your life is made of two dates and a dash.
    Make the most of the dash.”

    The upcoming Caminio de Santiago is not
    a dash, but I am sure it will give you a lot of opportunities to think about
    how to make the best of the
    “remaining” dash.
    I wish you strong legs
    and a lot of inspirations.

    Enjoy every step.


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