Camino St Jean Pied de Port

Traveling to SJPdP, ready to start walking

Travel Legs Four and Five

Today I traveled from Madrid to Pamplona by first class train, it was another indulgence, but only cost ~$10 more than a cattle car fair. All was very orderly and timely; very neat, and an easy way to get around. From Pamplona I took a taxi rather than endure the craziness of finding a few buses and waiting on their time schedule. I tried to convince a threesome to join me along the way and help save the fair cost.  But even though it might have been less than their bus fares and defiantly saved them hours out of their day, they could not imagine altering their long planned out plans. I traveled alone and it was worth it to arrive in SJPdP by 1630, through the Pilgrim Office and into a hostel by 1730, just when their bus was leaving Pamplona.  (Camino Blog)

Outside the Window

The countryside outside of Madrid is covered with every imaginable shade of brown, interspersed with haphazard plots of cultivated green. Lots of flat and rolling terrain punctuated by rocky hills across the landscape. As we dog-legged left to the north the greenery overtook the browns as the default color as the little dirt brown, rocky hills grew into verdant foothills of the Pyrenees. Every once in a while off in the distance you could see the remains of an old castle overlooking the valley beneath; who knows what tales and history are locked away in those crumbling walls. Modern wind turbines have replaced the old windmills; they’re in abundance on hill crests as a contemporary salute to the energy needs of a growing country. 

Basque Country, which I passed through on my finals leg to SJPdP, as many have previously observed, is different from Spain. One understands why they feel separate and always want to cede from the country. It’s green and plush and mountainous and beautiful – not much like the southern portion of the country I railed through earlier. The valleys are deep and foreboding and it’s easy to see why it’s occupants would develop their own language and culture and live in their own world. The ride through the region was impressive, but intimidating in realizing that I need to walk back through the same landscape tomorrow. One hears of fatalities along the way, but coming from walking the trails in Alaska, I was not impressed….now I am. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I’ve picked up my Camino Credential…so now I’m official. Buen Camino.

A little pre-walk prayer

This eavening I stopped at the local Church (Notre-Dame du Bout du Pont) a lit a prayer candle.  Normally one does this for  their hopes and wishes for another, but this time, it was for me – to safely make it to the end of this  journey and to make me a better man.   We’ll see. (Camino Blog)

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3 years ago

I can only imagine the solace and gradification you are experiencing. Thank you for sharing this adventure and whetting my appetite to one day doing this amazing trek.

3 years ago

Love your pics Darren. And the way you write about the camino is faszinating. Keep doing what you are doing and think often of me. Viele Kuesse Ursula