Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 33: Aroue to Ostabat (21 kms)

A quick glimpse this morning

Our gîte in Aroue came to life just before 6 am. There was the usual logistics of cycling many people through few sinks and toilets. But, patience prevailed and with good wishes for a safe day's walk extended to all, Robin and I stepped out into a gray morning full of promise (of getting much wetter). We ambled along the way out of town trying to get stiff muscles to relax and carry us to our destination, Ostabat. We are now in the foothills of the Pyrenees so there is much going up and down as hills are topped, and then descended, only to be repeated again (and again). We did take a little shortcut that took us through the village of Uhart Mixe (Basque names are tough). There we found a nice restaurant open and it was filled with dripping pilgrims. Rain has started to fall one day from St. Jean. It is a continuous light rain with little or no wind driving it, so our umbrellas, once again, proved to be the perfect solution. It was 50 F when we left Aroue, and it never got above the upper 50's for the day. Nonetheless, I walked in a long sleeve t shirt, and rain pants with gaiters, and my umbrella. It worked fine. Keep in mind you are going to get wet from sweat under rain gear (or poncho), and consume a lot more water, alternatively, you can unfurl an umbrella, and accept that a sleeve might get a bit wet, but everything else will be cool, and dry. Two guys walking ahead of us, one swathed in a poncho and the other in a rain suit, turned and took pictures of the umbrella solution. What piece of gear do you think they will be buying before their next trip down the Chemin? Why suffer? As we walk with poles, we stow one pole on our packs and carry the umbrella in the free hand. If the weather is changeable we just carry the poles in the other hand. We used our umbrellas all day today, and will probably do so tomorrow, if the weather forecast is accurate. We arrived in Ostabat around 1:15, and then walked through town to our lodging for tonight, Ferme Gaineeko-Etxea. It us a full house (about 45 pilgrims). We will all be dining together in one room this evening. The owner has a reputation for singing Basque songs at dinner. More to follow.

As we were walking today, the terrain, the architecture, the whole look and feel of what we experienced reminded us of our previous trips across the Pyrenees. The only difference was on this side of St. Jean Pied de Port you still, occasionally, go downhill. It is hard to believe that tomorrow we will walk into St. Jean. For weeks we have been inching our way southwestwards to the Pyrenees, without giving much thought to the accumulated distance. All of a sudden you just simply arrive. However, St. Jean is only a waypoint as our destination, Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, is still many kilometers away. Still, it will be a fun arrival tomorrow, and some midway celebrating will be in order. Robin has been doing great, as the many kilometers have slipped by. We fully expect to arrive in Santiago together. Thank God for that. Now back to swatting flies in Ostabat. Cheers for now.

Last night in Aroue
Two more payments and it's mine
Just before the rain set in
Yes, it's raining
Entering Uhart Mixe



  1. Congrats on your progress to date. I hope you enjoy SJPP the third time. It's much different in the much energy. Looking forward to your adventures on the Camino del Norte. We spent 3 days in San Sebastien and loved it. Can't get enough pintxos. Continued safe travels. We're certainly enjoying your journey. Dayton and Karen

    1. Hi Karen, we are in San Sebastián. We arrived about 2:30 this afternoon. Looking forward to a couple of day's rest. Today was a hard day's walk, even after just finishing the Chemin St. Jacques. Give our best to Dayton as well.

      Cheers, John