Just One More Step

Arrived St Jean Pied de Port. A winding, stomach churning, bus ride. Gulp…ugh. I’ve hit the Pilgrims office, procured the passport and shell. The gentleman at the Pilgrims office was very thorough and accommodating. He asked after accommodations and offered to call around for me to book a bed until Roncesvalles. Wow!

Enjoying a cold rosé. It’s hot. Holy moly it’s hot. The Café asked for our EU Covid passports. In France you can not participate in the Café society without an EU Covid passport issued by your home country. Luckily, I have them on my phone. Both EU and Galician.

It’s funny. People in Pamplona speak to me in español. And they do it in St Jean too. I just overheard two old guys in the Café in French.

‘She is Spanish.’

Muchas gracias para el complemento, kind monsieurs. How’s that for españofrancoingles? In broad daylight.

The mountain views are stunning. The balcony geraniums of St Jean put my window boxes to shame. The Alsa bus from Pamplona was chock full of Americanos. Some veterans, others first timers. The driver barely glanced at my ticket. More concerned with Covid protocols.

Room with a view

The pension host here in St Jean was lovely. In anti-French fashion he offered beer upon check in. ‘No wine. Sorry.’ I almost called the gendarmerie.

Here are a few pics upon arrival.

Getting There is Half the Battle

Jeff is on many Camino forums now that we live on the Camino Frances. He will often tell me the hot topic of the day. Lately it’s been about trekking poles. The debate rages on whether to attempt to carry on your flight while thwarting TSA, to pack and check it all as luggage, or to purchase them after arriving in Spain.

Listening to these makes me smile. Because I remember worrying about all that stuff. Concerned about gear because it was the only thing I could control before I stepped on to the airplane, and finally took my first step on The Way. Two weeks in to the Camino I realized I didn’t need to sweat most of it. I could figure it out.

But, even though this is not my first Camino rodeo, I am not immune from that nervousness while filling my pack. The what if’s and incessant checking of the weather reports in the Pyrenees. Which I know is a fools errand. Last week it said it would be cool and rainy. Perfect weather in my book. Yet tomorrow it will now be 35 and hot and sunny for the first climb out of St Jean. So much for worrying about something I can’t control.

As a result, this morning in Pamplona I unpacked and started loading things back in the car for Jeff to take back home. You’d think I would know better. But it wasn’t until we went for dinner last evening and saw a Pilgrim arriving to the city, hot and limping that I decided that carrying even two small boxes of band-aides is too much. An extra pair of pants is out. My tablet is back in the car with my Keens.. Turns out I don’t need a rain poncho and my Arcteryx rain jacket. One will suffice.

We are all human. Prone to trying to limit, or even eliminate the down sides of any endeavor. But then I arrived in St Jean and my blood pressure eased off a bit. Walking up to the Pilgrims office to get my passport and register was a comfort. I’ve made it to the starting line and now they know I’m here. With just the essentials.

It is true what they say. Your Camino will start long before you take the first step. And my first step is less than 12 hours away. Jeff had good advice for me the last time. ‘When you think you won’t make it, take another step. You don’t have to go fast. Just take another step.’ That’s my mantra this time. Just one more step. Because he’s right. If I do that, eventually, it will lead me home.

6 thoughts on “Just One More Step

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