Tony, Tim, Betsy & Ray's (not forgetting Geoff) 2014 Camino

GR65 (France), GR11 & Camino del Norte (Spain)


7.06.14 Saturday Today's the day. St Jean Pied de Porte into SPAIN. Burguette just past Roncesvalles. This is the day we have been really looking forward to. The night before in the little campsite in St Jean was marred for some by the arrival and pitching of camp of a group between midnight and 2am. Others were blissfully unaware! But we are up at 5am and may seek forgiveness for not caring about the sound of our exit from the site. We get cracking at 6amand leave via the pilgrim gate Uphill for a lot of kilometers in the half light before the sun gets up. It is wonderfully cool compared to yesterday and before things really heay up ahain we are over 1000m in a stiff breeze so it is still comfortable going uphill even with the fairly relentless climb. We get coffee 8km out and 650 m higher in the Refuge Orrisy. We climb steadily through the hills with flocks of sheep clustered on hilltops (yes Ray like aphids)! Eventually we reach the top and look down into the Roncesvalles valley where Roland nephew of Charlemange died after being ambushed by Moors during the retreat from Spain in the 8th C. A bit before the crusades and the finding supposed finding of St James tomb. The descent into the valley though beech woods is equally hard and steep but not qite as long. A big day and still 2 or 3 km into Burguette. The abbey at Roncesvalles has some nice old stained glass and a deep stone crypt with seriously old painting on it. More importantly there is a bar. Two beers and our lunch later we wander down the path to the village and find as expected at 1430 the supermarket is closed till 1700 and the campsite is variably estimated at up to 5km in the wrong direction. We inquire for rooms non are to be had in a quandary we eat again, it has the virtue of sitting down and analgesia is supplied. After lunch a miracle, rooms have manifested. No shows are common and bookings are cancelled after 1600 unless confirmed. We clean, shop and gradually recover tomorrow is another day hot and with a wild camp. 29km 1900m of ascent 1100m descent a big day. WE ARE NOW IN SPAIN!
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