The start of our Camino

Today we embarked on the greatest adventure of our lives, the Camino de Santiago. We boarded a train from Paris to Saint Jean Pied de Port. It was a bit of a rush getting to our train in Paris as we did not realise there were two trains on the same platform and we accidentally got on the wrong train. Quickly realising our mistake we dashed to the train further down the platform, aggravating some of the station staff in the process. Once we were on the right train we knew our journey was about to start. The train ride to Bayonne was very relaxing, passing through the gorgeous French countryside. In Bayonne we had to change trains. Silly us, we did not check the number of the train and once again boarded the wrong train, this time heading back to Bordeaux. Such rookie mistakes. After we realised we were on the wrong train we disembarked at the next stop, catching a train back to Bayonne. Luckily there was anther train leaving for Saint Jean in a couple of hours. A few other pilgrims made the same mistake so the train we took to Saint Jean was super packed. Once in Saint Jean we found a lovely private Albergue where we would spend the night. We had our first pilrim dinner at one of the local restaurants, which was so yummy. After dinner we headed to the pilgrim office to get our Pilgrim credential and officially register for the Camino. We got our pilgrim’s passport and scallop shell, which is a symbol of the Camino. We were ready.

The following morning we left the the Albergue just after 7am to cross the Pyrenees mountains. It was foggy and overcast and soon the rain started pouring down. The full 26km to Roncesvalles was uphill crossing some tretcherous terrain. The visibility was very poor and got colder and colder the higher we went. Somewhere along the way we crossed the border into Spain which is such a surreal experience. It was a very tough day as we were drenched and shivering. Our body’s were in total shock. But the scenery that was visible through the fog was absolutely beautiful. It felt like time had forgotten this piece of earth. We passed cows and goats grazing peacefully in the rain and were surrounded by fellow pilgrims.

Once we started our descent the rooftop of the monastery in Roncesvalles appeared. It was a sight for sore eyes. We arrived at the monastery just after 4pm ready for a hot shower and a bed. There was such a buzz at the monastery that evening, filled with the excited chatter of fellow pilgrims exchanging their stories of the days walk. All in all it was a great day, even though we could not see much and it was absolutely freezing and wet!

Our camino had officially started, Buen Camino!