Greetings from Roncesvalles! After about nineteen hours of travelling, I made it St Jean Pied au Port last night at 8pm and at 7, started the 27kilometre walk here (which was mostly uphill). I´m feeling tired but happy, and encouraged that my feet aren´t blistering (yet). I don´t have wifi here, just the albergue computers so I can´t upload photos just yet but I will show you this beautiful place as soon as I can. I had a lovely morning yesterday in Paris, where I met my dear friend Noemie for coffee and croissants near Notre Dame. Noemie was one of my campers when I worked at Muskoka Woods and I haven´t seen her in four years! It was so lovely to catch up after so long and she was a life saver, getting me on my train to Bayonne on time.
I sat next to a lovely girl on the train who advised me to pursue a relationship with my feet, talk to them, enourage them, rub them every day, and they will be happy. It is a bit of an odd approach but I´m willing to give anything a try!
I was relieved to take the train into St Jean with about 20 other pilgrims. I think I had the vision that it was going to be really sparce and confusing, but I just followed the herd right into the pilgrim´s office where I picked up my credential (a document that you get stamped in each city to show that you have walked the camino). I stayed in a tiny rickety hostel and started the journey at six am.
I am already thrilled at the amount of carbs on this trip. YUM. Baguette for breakfast, protein bar and a full loaf of bread on the walk. Croissants and baguettes galore yesterday. I guess that´s my reward for walking a half marathon everyday!
The walk this morning was quite challenging, steep mountain trails the whole way, but I have heard that this is the hardest day and I´m still alive (though who knows how I´ll feel tomorrow?). it was also a bit snowy at the top of the mountain pass so there was a lot of throwing on layers and taking them off, a welcome song and dance to give my back a break! I am however really pleasantly surprised at how a hiking backpack forces excellent posture. The only part of me that´s sore right now is my shoulder blades from being forced to stand up straight.
I am already feeling my heart swell from this experience. The landscape is stunning and the people are wonderful. I am learning the necessity to speak kindly to myself, and using the opportunity to practice telling myself that I am proud of what I am doing here every day. I think this is going to be a huge lesson in learning to listen to my body no matter what the group is doing, and to show to myself that I can do much more than I ever thought I could.
I´m going to go wash my clothes, get a really good stretch in, eat a huge plate of whatever I feel like and then there is a mass at six here in the town square for a commissioning ceremony, and then I can only assume I am going to have the deepest sleep of my life.
Thank you to everyone for sending their continuous love and care each day. I need the cheerleaders!