Monday, October 12 – Rest Day 6 – Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

I had a decent night’s sleep, and although it was a rest day and I tried to sleep in, I was awake at 6. I had to deal with something new last night; someone above me, with very creaky bed springs. Luckily once they actually went to sleep it was fine, but it was back again this morning. I did doze after a while, but I didn’t want to sleep too long. I got up at about 9 and was out the door at quarter after.

I went to the pilgrim’s office first, to reschedule Orisson, which worked just fine. This is the last week they’re open. It sounds like their last night is Sunday.

After that I went to the Pilgrim Boutique across the street. I got a poncho to replace my jacket/pack cover system, and I figured since I would be mailing some things home, I might as well buy some souveniers to mail back at the same time. I got a few magnets and an abbey road/pilgrim crossover shirt. I also decided to downgrade my towel. I brought a huge towel with me, but I really don’t need it that large. I hope the one I got will do just fine, and it also weighs less.

I still need to buy a guide book, so I really hope I remember to do that tomorrow before I leave. I also need to get some bread and some fruit.

After that I just kind of walked around and took pictures. I ran into Lorna and she invited me to have lunch with them again. I went back to my room and dropped stuff off, then I went and took pictures of the market which was right across the street from my gîte. I probably should have bought some fruit there, but I didn’t.

We met for lunch at a restaurant, but it was a very odd menu. They didn’t appear to have any menu options, which is usually the best thing to get. I ordered some shrimp, but when it came it was just shrimp. I definitely suffered from plate envy. Not only was it very difficult to eat, because I had to peel each one, but they really weren’t very good. Luckily they were only 7 E. I said I would go find a crêpe somewhere.


There are lots of places around that advertise as being Crêperies. However, apparently none of them actually serve crêpes! Either that or lunch just isn’t an appropriate time to eat them. I went to 3 different places and they all told me no crêpes. I was starting to get really, really annoyed. Apparently fate has decided that I am not to have any crêpes in France, nutella or otherwise. I found a place that serves things called “gaufres” which are like a dessert waffle, and they made them with nutella! So I ordered one, but the lady shook her head and said the waffle maker wasn’t working at the moment and to come back in 10 minutes.

At this point I was really annoyed, so I went into the nearest restaurant I could find and ordered another lunch. I got the pilgrim’s menu for 12 E, and it really wasn’t very good. It was a bad piece of pork with a bit of salad and decent potatoes. It also came with that noodle soup that isn’t that great either. But, it did come with an excellent chocolate coconut cake thing!

Then after I finished lunch, I marched right back to the waffle place and got a nutella waffle. It was delicious.


I took my delicious nutella waffle and headed up to look at the Citadel. Apparently Saint Jean Pied de Port was some kind of fortress city. It was pretty cool. Then I went a bit lower and walked around the ramparts. There were arrow slits and everything. It makes me wonder how many battles they had.

It finally started raining about 3 pm. Sprinkling a bit, but it got steadier and heavier as the day wore on.

I got my stuff together that I was going to mail back. My nice shirt, my pants, my towel, my rain jacket, my pack cover, and my souveniers, and my Miam Miam Dodo. I debated about sending my scrubba back, and I almost did, but I decided to keep it. I think I might need it more in Spain than I did in France.

You know what absolutely made my dad today? Seeing old men wearing berets. Little old French men actually wearing French berets. Totally made me day. So adorable.

I went to the post office and nice lady helped me get everything I needed. 54 E and I mailed my package home! This stop in St. Jean is turning into a very expensive one. I’m definitely going to go over budget.


After the post office I had a few things I needed to buy. I got some silicone ear plugs at a pharmacy. I will get to try those out at Orisson. I’ve never tried silicone. Maybe they’re little plastic miracles.

I had an accident earlier today and broke the top of my liquid laundry soap bottle, so I needed a new one. They didn’t have any laundry soap at the pharmacy, so she told me where the supermarket was. I walked down to the supermarket! It was far enough away that I was wondering if I was going in the right direction. It took a while to find what I was looking for. I decided to get bar soap, because it doesn’t matter if you break that. I also got some yogurt for the next two days, and somehow a gateau basque a la cerise noire ended up in my bag too. I have decided I really, really like gateau basque. At least some versions. This cherry one is very good. It’s drier, like the one I had last night, and crumbly, and full of cherry goodness. It’s kind like pie, but with a really thick crumbly crust. I’m typing and eating gateau basque and getting crumbs everywhere. The lady isn’t going to be happy when she cleans tomorrow, but she didn’t tell me I couldn’t eat gateau basque in my room!


With most of my errands done, and it was after 5 pm, I headed back to my gîte to use the wifi and try to get caught up on my blog.

There was a pilgrim’s mass at 7, and I wanted to go to that. I thought it would be fitting for the second leg of my trip. It was raining, so I grabbed my new poncho and headed out. When I got to the church, I saw Estelle out front! She’s the girl I had dinner with in Cabrarets, and it’s funny, because earlier today, when I mailed my MMDD home, I thought of her. She wrote her email down in my book, and I wondered if I should copy it out before mailing it, but I figured it was too late. But she’s going to Santiago, which I had totally forgotten, and I got her email again. We will probably run into each other again, then! She said she was a few days behind me and kept hearing about me. She stayed at the farm with the baby cows and said they were talking about me. How fun is that?

The mass was nice and short. There maybe 15 people there. After it was over he had us all stand in a semi-circle and say where we were from. There were 2 other Americans besides me. After it was over I asked where they were from, and they’re from Connecticut. They said I was famous and they had heard about me! It’s just that they were behind me, so they heard about American girl from Ohio. They had walked Pamplona to Santiago some years ago, then they walked Le Puy to Cahors, so now they’re walking Cahors to Pamplona. We are both taking two days to get to Roncevaux, so I might see them again.

I headed off to find dinner alone, and ended up at a pizza place. I think it was a very good choice. I wish we’d gone there for lunch. The pizza looks very large, but the crust was very, very thin. It was crême fraishe, lardons (ham bits), onions, rochefort, and cheese. It was delicious! It was less than 10 E. I did not get any dessert because of the huge gateau basque waiting for me in my room.


Weather wise, it might have worked out ok if I had gone to Orisson as originally planned. I probably would have gotten there before the rain started. But, I think it’s supposed to rain most of the day tomorrow, which would have been the long day over the pyrenees, and I think that would not have been good. So I’m pretty sure that tomorrow it will rain my whole walk to Orisson, but the next day will be great! At least now I’m prepared with my new poncho.

Mentally, I’m very glad I took this rest day. I think it was exactly what I needed. I felt very lost and unprepared yesterday, but today I feel much better about things. I just need to remember to get my guide book!

7:30 is going to come very early tomorrow. I have to be out and ready to go.

Something so funny, before I forget. When I was in the bar using the wifi, the tv was on. There was a commercial for Sour Patch Kids, and in France they’re called, “Very Bad Kids.” So in this commercial, this boy is riding his bike along and thinks he’s going to go through a tunnel, but it’s actually a picture of a tunnel and he runs into it. A Sour Patch Kid did it, but then he hands the boy a band aid, and that makes everything ok. And in an English commercial they say “At first they’re sour, but then they’re sweet.” But in France they’re just “Very Bad Kids.” And it’s written in english. I wish I had been able to take a picture.



Add yours →

  1. LOL! I love the lost in translation Sour Patch/Very Bad Kids. That is hilarious!


  2. I wonder how long it will take for the package to get here. Does your load feel lighter? Have you thought about calling the post office in Pamplona to see if your shoes got there?

    Yay for Nutella! I’m sorry you didn’t get a crepe though. Enjoy your mountain trek today. 🙂


  3. You’re famous! How fun! Good idea to go to Pilgrim’s Mass again.

    Sorry about bad food. 😦 And creperies with no crepes.

    Glorious pics! I hope the trek over the Pyrenees went well. It is raining here today.


  4. Mon Petit Chou,
    Next time you visit PA I will take you to get the best Nutella crepe in the US! I know it’s not a French crepe, but still delicious!
    You are amazing! I think of you often!!


  5. I’m sad about the crepes! False advertising!


  6. They have a lot of crepe stands in Paris with Nutella as an option. You will definitely have to get one there this Spring with Heidi!!


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