The End of the Beginning

Sunday, October 11 – Day 33

I had another nice night of sleep. This whole single room thing really is nice.

After breakfast it took me a while to get things packed, so I didn’t leave until 8:45. I will miss these lazy French mornings.

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It was definitely cloudy, and I really do think it will rain tomorrow. My excitement about St. Jean was dampened.

I wasn’t sure what today would be like. Yesterday there were some pretty big hills, but today wasn’t that bad. Instead of going up and over, the path basically followed a road through a canyon. There was much more traffic.

I was by myself again for most of the day. Corn, cows, and sheep. I like sheep. At one point I came upon a guy on a cell phone with a dog that had recently herded some sheep up a road. When the dog saw me coming, he got up and ran behind me. He nipped me in the leg, and it was obvious he was trying to herd me. The guy on his cell phone either didn’t notice or didn’t care. You would think the dog would know the difference between a person and a sheep? He wasn’t aggressive at all. There was no barking or growling, so I don’t think he was actually trying to bite me, just herd me.

I had some bread and cheese that I’d been planning to eat for lunch, but at lunchtime I saw a hotel-restaurant that was open, so I decided to get some hot food. I ate on the terrace. I had a mixed plate of salad, fries, and pork. I had a friendly dog companion who waited patiently for some food scraps, and I may or may not have dropped some on purpose.

Leaving town I was behind some pilgrims and I eventually caught up with Daniele and walked into St. Jean with him. I was not prepared for how anti-climactic it would be. There was a gate that we went through. I took a pic of Daniele next to the gate, and he took a pic of me on the other side of it. Then we were in St. Jean Pied-de-Port.

I stopped at the pilgrim’s office and a very nice English speaking woman helped me make changes to my accommodation. I decided that I’m going to spend a rest day in St. Jean because of the rain. Unfortunately, I’d made my reservation for St. Jean over booking.com, because I couldn’t contact anyone by phone and I’d been worried about getting a spot. I shouldn’t have been worried, and I wish I hadn’t reserved online, because I ended up having to eat that charge. Since I’m staying two nights, I really wanted a room of my own, and I’d been booked into a gîte. That gîte did have private rooms, but none available. It’s only 24 E, but it’s still 24 E. Oh well. I guess it’s worth it to sleep in tomorrow and not have to worry about carrying my pack with me for 7 hours around town till I could check into my next place.

She found me a single room for two nights for 36E a night, which isn’t bad. It also advertised having wifi. Unfortunately, the wifi doesn’t work in the room at all, even though she said it would, and I had to pay in advance. There are also no sheets at all on the bed. But at least I am alone!

Even now I don’t know how I feel. When I take rest days it’s hard not to feel like I’m wasting time, even though I have time to waste. I still haven’t decided if I’m also going to take a short day on Tuesday and only go to Orisson, or go all the way to Roncevaux. She said I have to be out of my room 7:30 Tuesday morning. Crazy! But tomorrow I need to get into tourist relaxed mode and do some shopping and other touristy stuff.

I think taking a rest day is a good idea. AND, I will finally be able to get my nutella crêpe, on my last day in France. Maybe I’ll have more than one. Maybe I’ll just be a food tourist and eat all day.

I’m feeling a bit lost and depressed. I’m glad I’m not stopping here. There is nothing official that says, “you’re done.” I wonder if I will feel the same way in Compostelle, or if it will be different. I think the certificate will help. Maybe.

When I was out wandering around town a bit I ran into some women that I’d only just met, but they speak English. They invited me to have dinner with a big group of them. I think I will join them. It will be nice to have some English, and nice friendly people.

Dinner was absolutely wonderful. There were 9 of us. 4 women from Canada (Patricia, Eleanor, Lorne, and Mary) 2 women from Australia, and 2 men from France. Jenny and Debbie, the Aussies, were staying in a very nice hotel, so that’s where we had dinner. I had a soup that started with a G, then trout, which was absolutely delicious, then more gateau basque. I liked this gateau basque much better than the one from last night, which I thought was too sweet. This one was drier, but I liked it more.

The women have all finished here, but several of them have walked in Spain before. Jenny had run into the same snoring woman I did and said she had also contemplated homicide. I am feeling a bit better about Spain. I just hope I can stay reasonably close to what I thought I would spend on this trip. If not, oh well, it’s only money!

We checked the weather report and it shows rain from 9 am to 9 pm (we checked at 9 pm and it only goes for 24 hours). I think staying is a good idea. Hopefully I’ll be able to re-book Orisson before everyone else has the same idea.

I plan on having a nice day tomorrow, and I will eat at least one nutella crêpe.

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3 Comments

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  1. The End of the Beginning–what an appropriate title! You would think there would be some sort of fanfare–a gong to ring, or balloons to let loose, or something! I’m sorry it was anti climactic. WOW what an accomplishment. How many stamps do you have in your book? I sincerely hope the weather treats you well over the mountains. 🙂

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  2. As I’m reading these posts, (I’m catching up tonight…), I can’t help but think that this seems like something you’ve always meant to do. It almost feels like this was in the plans for your future even way back when we were roommates. Yay for a rest day! I hope it will mean good (at least better?) weather over the mountains!

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  3. A taxi driver told us that the houses were all white with either red or green trim. I asked him if that was some kind of law or was it tradition? He said tradition. My first thought was that if we were in America there would be a garish purple house on one of those hills!

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