After a mostly restful night at the municipal albergue in St. Jean we said goodbye to Madame Jenine, our hospitalera, and walked out into a chilly, partly cloudy, morning. Our number has grown by one with the addition of Harry, a young software engineer from Korea. One thing of note is the increased numbers of winter pilgrims. Antoine, at the pilgrim office, showed us his ledger. The pages for the previous two days were full (maybe 15 entries per page). But for today it is just the three of us. Robin and I headed for the post office and Harry headed out of town. We all are walking the valley route. Antoine emphasized taking the valley route and accordingly placed red x's all along the Route Napoleon on the route map he gave us. We got the point. We walked through the Port d'Espagne about 9:30 and after a moment to contemplate our journey, tighten our packs, and hug one another, we set out. Our second Camino was officially underway.
|Harry and Robin|
The day was perfect for walking. The temperature at departure was close to 40 F and the weather was dry. It always takes time to adjust to carrying our packs regardless of how much training we do. This trip was no different. The packs carried well, but the weight was there nonetheless. 7-10 days from now we will not even be thinking about them but for now it is time to get reacquainted. We enjoyed the climb but I must admit that two more years on my body (since our last Camino) have surfaced a few new aches and pains. The Advil is at the ready. We arrived a Valcarlos about 1:00, got the pass code for the albergue door at a local bar, had a couple of beers and headed for the shower. We have rejoined with Harry at the albergue and are currently having some soup to hold us until dinner. Robin is making pasta tonight from what we could cobble together from the local store. I am not sure what sort of New Year's celebration to expect here in Valcarlos, but whatever it is it is unlikely we will hear the stroke of midnight. Colder temps expected tomorrow. At one point today, as the sun found a chink in the cloud cover, the temperature climbed into the upper 50's (too hot for this crew). All is well on Day1. Happy new year to all.