Day 33 – Saint-Jean-Pied-du-Port (Rest Day)

The buzz in this town is fantastic. Each train brings more pilgrims. The streets are full and everyone is excited.

I went to Mass in the morning then explored the town including a picnic lunch in the citadel above town. Since I’m a tourist today, I took a few more videos for the video fans (all three of them).

Bill, how do you get over the Pyrenees mountains?

There are two routes. The lower Valcarios Route that was used by Charlemagne and is open all year long. And the upper route that was used by Napoleon (to surprise the enemy). The Napoleon Route is closed in winter or when weather is bad. Most pilgrims take the Napoleon route because of the great views. That’s the route I’ll take.

Elevation map from my guide book for tomorrow’s stage. Total climb is 1565 meters (5134 feet). Just a little bump in the road.
When I got to France a month ago, I shipped myself a box with a new pair of shoes, new socks, guidebooks for Spain and some treats. The box was waiting for me at my hotel here in SJPDP. Fresh socks are an especially nice treat.
This bridge marks the beginning of the “Camino Frances.” It’s hard to imagine the millions of pilgrims that have crossed it over the years.
This is line at the Pilgrims’ Office. Most pilgrims stop here to get their credential, book lodging and get their first credential stamp. You hear many languages in this line.
Inside of the Pilgrims’ Office.
The Pilgrims’ Store. They do a killing providing last minute gear for pilgrims. I had to buy gloves and a fleece here. Mornings are cold now. When I leave tomorrow it will be about 45 degrees.
The main pedestrian street in SJPDP. Not sure why the bells are ringing at 12:15pm but I’m not
complaining. They sound cool echoing off the cobbles and buildings.
Walking along the walls of SJPDP.
The walls of the citadel above the town.
Views of SJPDP from the citadel.

4 thoughts on “Day 33 – Saint-Jean-Pied-du-Port (Rest Day)

  1. We own a copy of The Way, so I watched it again last night (maybe the 3rd 0r 4th time). It gets better each time for me and more so now that I am following your journey on el Camino, Bill. Thank you for your photos, videos and summaries each day. Your writing is fun to read. Do you have a publisher? Praying for your safe travels.

  2. In the village in Switzerland where my father grew up, the bells sounded every day at lunchtime to indicate that it was time to stop work in the fields and come in for lunch. Nearly all shops would close over the lunchtime hour (or 2). Given that you are now in Spain, they are very partial to lunchtime siestas

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