Not the most auspicious start. The notice in the hotel window in Bayonne said – I think – we re-open at 1830. By 2100 the place showed less signs of life than an Italian city centre with a big screen showing the Euro final. There was a reason this hotel was cheap. It wasn’t just the dog muck infested pavement outside or the youth who came round the block on his moped 3 times eying my backpack. No , it was the two drunks with their todgers out merrily urinating in unison as they walked down the centre of the street. So au revoir or rather goodbye to Bayonne. I think about catching the last train to Saint Jean Pied de Port despite knowing that it’s somewhat busy this time of year. Being July and all. A desperate – well panicky – phone call home pleading for help finds my student son at the computer. Please get me a hotel in st jean. Or indeed anywhere I make last forlorn return to Dog Mess hotel. Still no bugger there. Ring back son to be told by teenage daughter that he’s gone “to watch the football” at his mate’s house. I have one hotel number – the sole fruits of his in- depth research. It’s full . I take the train anyway on a gamble , eying up places to sleep in train station on arrival at St Jean. Cut long story short I find a 17th century hostel run by a modern day saint called Eric. As I write my backpack is discarded and lying in the dormitory. (Eric says it looks too heavy and will give me problems) I don’t care. Am on my 3rd pint of Basque beer before going back to hostel to wake ’em all up with my sonorous snoring Because thats the kind if pilgrim I am. Buen Camino
A beautiful early start to the day here in Nottingham but I’m getting ready to leave the UK. Train to Manchester, flight to Biarritz, stay in Bayonne then catch a train to St Jean Pied de Port and then…..should start walking early on Tuesday. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has sponsored me. I keep moving the target as more comes in. Your generosity moves me. Hopefully it can move me 500 miles….on reflection it’s a long way isn’t it…?