søndag den 17. august 2014

Copenhagen to Saint Jean Pied de Porte via Bayonne

Once again I will walk a part of the Camino de Santiago this summer. I am doing it a little backwards since I last year finished in Santiago de Compostella and this year I will begin at the "official" start in Saint Jean Pied de Porte (from now on SJPdP). The plan is to walk to Burgos (little under 300 km in total) and then spend a few days I Barcelona before flying back home.

Here you can see the route. Last year I walked from Leon to Santiago.

Like last year I will blog from my IPhone so please ignore all the typos that will occur without a doubt. Gotta love autocorrect, eh?!

I flew from Copenhagen to Biarritz and since it would take me around two hikes to get to SJPdP I decided to stay the first night in Bayonne. The curfew of the hostels are usually at ten o'clock and I would arrive at 22.30 the earliest. The cheapest hotel was more than I was willing to pay so I found a cheap-ish hotel in Bayonne and would leave Saturday morning to SJPdP by train. Therefore I would start the Camino somewhat late and since the first stage is 25 km across the Pyrenees (around 8-9 hours it takes to walk the distance) I decided to book a bed at Orisson which is situated a little less than halfway up the mountain and 8 (steep!!!) kms from SJPdP. When I booked Orisson I was a little sad because I would like to do the entire stage in one go. It turned out that I made the correct decision though! More about that later.

I fly with SAS directly and once I had exited the airport and was waiting for the bus I was greeted by rain (wtf France?!) and this image:

Are they trying to steal our cultural legacy or are they simply trying to make Danes feel welcome?

At the hotel they couldn't find my name in their book! And they had no vacancies!! I had the email confirmation, but it turned out that they had booked me the day after!! So Mr French guy who spoke no English said "que de non au Ribery et de la frontage avec fromage" or something like that while he shrugged his shoulders. Merde is the right word to use in this situation I guess. Especially since there were no available rooms in Bayonne. 

I decided to head to SJPdP even though I knew I wouldn't get a hotel room there. I figured I would find a bench somewhere. 

While I waited for the train I raided a candy machine and drowned my sorrows in a bag of chips and a bag of m&ms with peanuts.

Train station in Bayonne. Nice but my experience with Bayonne is not the best.

In SJPdP I found out why it was impossible to get a hotel room. There was a big town party so the streets where filled with (drunk loud) locals and there were various bands playing live. I had found a bench that was almost long enough for me and hoped the rain would go away. Before going to sleep I walked around a bit to see if I could be so lucky and find a bed. And I did! I found a lousy smelly overpriced hostel but that didn't matter because at least they had a roof. And I even got the last bed. Yay! 

Cramped, warm and very smelly room in the morning when people had left. But it was due and that was all that mattered.

The party was right outside the window and it was LOUD. They contained until 3 o'clock at night and even with earplugs it was like I was at the party! Even though I was tired I simply couldn't fall asleep. Once they turned of the music I fell asleep. Only to be woken up two hours later by pilgrims leaving (very) early. At that point I was so very happy that I had booked a bed at Orisson so my first day would be somewhat easy.

The hostel that ensured I stayed dry during the night.

Despite my troubled start I am happy to be back on the Camino and I can't wait to get started.

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