Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day 34: Ostabat to St. Jean Pied de Port (19 kms)

Early morning just leaving Ostabat

Yesterday was a soggy day, and pilgrims dragged into Ostabat in groups of two's or three's from mid afternoon onward. Everyone was dripping, and praying for a hot shower and dry clothes. Bit by bit our gîte filled up until we had about 42 people under roof. There was a bit of electricity in the air, even after a tough day's walk, as St. Jean, less than 20 kms away, was looming large in everyone's mind, At this point almost anything was acceptable as long as our journey was not impeded. So people laughed about the rain and mud and generally got settled down for dinner, which was served at 7:00. This gîte is run by a couple, and the husband is a natural showman. He launched into a medley of Basque folk songs, and through in a few crowd pleasers as well. Everyone enjoyed the show, but were anxious to get to bed and get some sleep. By 10:30 all was quiet in this part of Ostabat.

The next day dawned calm, and dry with scattered clouds. The trail was expected to be quite muddy from yesterday's rain, but we elected to give it try. Off we went, at 7:30, heading for St. Jean. It was a gorgeons morning and energy levels were high until we hit the mud. It wasn't that deep, but it was very slippery. At least one person spun out and face planted, and that was enough for us. At the first opportunity we peeled off down an embankment, hopped a fence and joined the D 933, the main road to St. Jean, and walked that road all the way in, arriving just at 11:00. We swung by the train station and purchased tickets to Hendaye for 1:30 tomorrow, then we headed off to get something to eat and drink. We have been walking with some great people these last weeks, and will see many of them at dinner tonight. We will celebrate coming this far, but we must still prepare for the weeks ahead. So with that in mind we also hit the pharmacy for foot cream, tape, and pain relievers. Some things just never change. We are off to Irun tomorrow and hope to walk to San Sebastián the next day. Our plan, for the moment, is to hold up in San Sebastián for a couple of rest days, and then continue to Santiago. More later from a Spain. St. Jean is hopping with pilgrims, but Robin and I are off to bed. Lights out for now.

The gîte fills up
Dinner in Ostabat
Early morning in Ostabat
There must be something good to eat up there
Close to St. Jean
The other end of town
Robin and friend Michael on Rue Citadelle
Robin and I close to the Pilgrim Office in St. Jean
French and American friends
St. Jean Pied de Port
Our hotel for the night
Rooftops in St. Jean




  1. Congratulations on reaching the end of the first part of your journey. It must be feeling a bit odd now to be saying goodbye to those you have met on this route. All the best for the Norte!

  2. You have finished what was familiar ground for me and you are off to continue on a "chemin" that will allow me to see new territory. Thank you again for allowing to "walk" with you relive a part of my pilgrimage. I am looking forward to the unknown that is to come!

  3. Congratulations Robin & John,

    I will continue following you through Spain on the Norté which is another route I see in my future.

    Thank you for the beautiful accounting of Le Chemin de Compostelle Le Puy, I am now planning to walk this route mid May of 2015, who knows I may change my plan of once again walking the Francés after the Le Puy to follow up by walking the Norté.

    I don't leave for the Inglés until August, so I will be able to follow you all the way to Santiago!


    1. Thank you Arlene. Good luck on the Ingles.

  4. For the record, you have given me extreme wanderlust again! I read your posts wishing I was walking the route with you. I think it is time to make some kind of plans, even if it is just for a 'shorter' walk! A walk near Assisi around Easter next year might fit the bill.

    1. It is catching, isn't it. Hope all is well in NZ.

  5. Wow, I enjoy this blog of yours! Blogs on Le Chemin Le Puy are few (I have read Kiwi Nomad's one over and over!) and blogs on the Cele variant are almost non-existent. Enjoy your rest days and buen camino! Dolfina (Cape Town)