The Way, Day 4

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[Through the Pyrenees]

Total Distance: 27.5 km
Total Time: 6.5h
Route: St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles

We considered staying an extra day in St. Jean, but the hotel we were staying at was full for the night, so we had no choice but to begin.  We went to the Pilgrim’s Office, where we picked up our Compostela Passports and got some information about the trail ahead.  Perhaps it was his age, perhaps his accent, but as our guide told us what we could expect (two places to refill water, 8h hike to Roncevaux/Roncesvalles, only one place to eat along the way), be began to take on a soothsayer-like quality and I began to feel nervous about what we were about to do.  We could get lost, injured, sick; we could run out if food or water, and suddenly I wondered if maybe we were undertaking this endeavor a bit rashly, if maybe it wasn’t the most conscious decision.  As we made our way out of town and over the mountains that feeling began to dissipate and I found myself excited by the adventure we were undertaking. 

We marched up the Pyrenees in the rain, running into more sheep than people.  Our rain gear kept us dry and we only noticed the cold when we stopped moving.  The incline was steep at points, the road slick with leaves and mud at others, but we managed to stay upright and smiling for the most part.  We must have been walking at a pretty decent clip because we made it to Roncesvalles in 6h, where we checked into the monastery and took a much needed shower and washed our soaking-in-sweat clothes.  Tomorrow we will continue on, provided that our feet will hold us.

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