The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step : Lao Tzu
Well maybe. But what he neglects to point out is that leaves 2639999 to go (based on average human legs)
Or in my case 1319999 seeing as I’m doing 500 miles
Anyway day one is done.
I imagine two medieval monks coming up with a bonkers plan to devise this pilgrim’s way.
“Hey Almaric, pass me some of that Basque cider will you …non non, not that one …the other one that makes your eyeballs feel like they’ve gone on the Rapture without the rest of your body.
“listen Almaric that pilgrimage trail we’ve been on about. Why don’t we start it right here in St Jean so they get the toughest highest and most brutal part on day one …ha ha ha
“No Almaric it’ll be a real laugh. And we can sell them that wine we brew. Oui Oui I know it tastes like horse piss. You know it tastes like horse piss. But they’ll say its amazing and authentic and one must really immerse oneself in the local customs to get the whole of the pilgrim experience..”
Anyway. I made it toRoncesvalles this is where legend says Charlemagne the Great’s rearguard was slaughtered as they left Navarre It was immortalised in the French classical work the Song Of Roland. His rearguard commander Roland died as he blew his Oliphant (horn) to summon help (ruptured his temples apparently. Nice image) . It was of no use as The Moors slaughtered the rearguard anyway.
Except it wasn’t The Moors. It was the local Basques who not unreasonably were annoyed with Charlemagne for pulling down the walls of Pamplona despite promising not to.
I was served breakfast by a Basque. A big moustachioed fellow. I wouldn’t want to annoy him
So today I started with the Proclaimers I’m gonna be(500 miles) Whenever I’m walking in the Vale of Belvoir back home I put it on and assume a determined expression. Doesn’t really work in the Pyrenees. The mountains just look back at you and say :”Bring it on”
I passed my first pilgrim after 5 km. admittedly she was about 70, wearing a pink anorak , a drawstring plastic bag with the words “Love Train” and two sticks.
The click clack of those sticks on the road were at my heels for the next 5 km as she tried in vain to catch me up. And I’ve not seem her here at Roncesvalles. Which makes me feel guilty
The beer is half the price of that in St Jean. Thought it was important to mention that.
More of life on the road later.
Number of Buen Caminos: 5
Song of the day: I’m Gonna Be. The Proclaimers.