I’m in St. Jean Pied de Port at the traditional end of Le Chemin de St. Jacques. It’s also the beginning of the El Camino in Spain. If you saw The Way, this is where the movie starts.
For some unknown reason, the signs started saying El Camino de Compostelle a couple of days ago. Hey, wait a minute. We’re still in France.
Today’s walk was magical. The Pyrenes were a constant presence. I could see the trail over the mountains and into Spain. Many hikers are finishing their walk by walking over but I have no desire to do that. I really want to stay in France.
St. Jean PDP is a fortress, at least the historic section. I chose to have my “end” picture taken at the gate of St. Jacques, the entrance into town.
While we were taking pictures and having our pictures taken by other pilgrims, a group of tourists came by on a tour. They stopped to gawk at us, like they were visiting a zoo. Since it was an English-speaking tour, I volunteered to explain a little about my experience. I may have convinced a couple to think about it.
Anyone can do this. Like most hikes, the most important attribute is perseverance.
So here are the details:
Le Puy-en-Velay to St. Jean Pied-de-Port
440 miles which took me 32 hiking days