First, Day 0 – St Jean Pied de Port our staging post is a quaint French village and the hostal L’Esprit du Chemin (literally, the spirit of the way) was very warm and welcoming. There was an international clientale for the communal evening meal – English, Dutch, Swiss, German, Japanese, Spanish, a Californian (her state origins being more important to her than US citizenship) and yours truly, the token Paddy…they turn up everywhere. So a good start.
Day 1 – challenging 30 kms hike, mostly uphill over the mountains into Spain. Encouraging sunrise at beginning (7am), lots of cattle and sheep along the way, just munching grass and not doing too much thinking… maybe we could learn something from them. Then through forests and heavy mist in the upper reaches, before a long desent to our destination….nearly 8 hours in all.
It struck me as interesting how few ‘things’ we really need when you consider that most ‘pilgrims`walking the Camino carry less than 10kgs in their backpacks, with some away from home for up to 5 weeks. Some bring more than that but shed bits and pieces along the way as the burden becomes too great to bare.
Shedding baggage of the emotional kind is a key reason many come on the Camino. This is at the core of a little poem that we were given leaving the hostel this morning :
” Wanderer, it is your tracks which are the road, and nothing else;
Wanderer, there is no road, walking makes the road.
By walking, the road is made, and when glancing back,
you contemplate the trail which you will trample no more
Wanderer, there is no road, only the waves on the sea ´´
Of course, you don`t need to walk the 800kms of the Camino Frances to shed the emotional baggage that is holding you back !
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