Tuesday July 23rd St Pied de Port – camping
Wasn’t this day meant to be the best one of the whole journey? All days were magnificent, yet the most appreciated ones were those in company of other hikers. Today proves to be such a one, although better is yet to come (following days if you keep on reading).
Again I leave later than most other campers (Laundry drying in spite of the hot weather, takes a while and I get to visit the little town I stumbled into last night, pitch dark at 11pm in drizzling rain-I still wonder where this mother with two children had her thoughts in not wanting to indicate the right route to me; I’ll put the blame on ignorance as I usually do in order to keep sane), and have difficulty finding the correct route, but after some interesting encounters (the former President of the FFR with whom I exchange my comments on the indications and the lodge I stayed at in St Etienne deBaïgorry), I finally move on to walk through beautiful pasture and decline the invitation from road signs -not being removed- to ascend the Oylarandoy (993m) as I will have the view later on, from the pass Col d’Aharza. I feel pressed for time once again, and anxious now to see the Iraty forest so keep munching miles in order to reach destination. Having been without drinking water on the pass Col des Veaux, and not wanting to renew this experience unless necessary, I look for it at the Trois Abreuvoirs, without much success. Not finding the necessary indications, or maybe I wasn’t paying sufficient attention (eyes and everything hurts substantially and am suffering from the heat), make me decide to follow my intuition downhill and soon I catch up with the signalization, to find myself after a few hours walk at Lasse.
Saint Pied de Port isn’t far away anymore, so I keep up the pace to reach it in the evening around 20.00 hrs – the camping is very comfortable, not modern and the frugal use of unnecessary appliances compared to what you find in touristic areas, bring you back to the necessities of what camping is all about; the people are extremely friendly, young and very hospitable – is it due to the area I wonder? Saint Jean de Port is a haven, and will remain as such in my memory. I bring a brief visit to the small city, with its’ main street, the religious character that you find at every corner almost, makes it all the more typical and I even have the chance to sneak in at a concert given by a Basque choir (payment isn’t requested by the fair ladies upon me asking to attend a short while).Having dinner at Sabine’s delicious table where I forget my cellular phone and have to recover it the next morning, which makes me take breakfast in the company of Sabine’s good spirits, even though a bit less spiritual than last night. Mornings come early don’t they?
The camping tenant, a young fellow (I owe them so much these individuals who kept helping me along the way), after opening the reception desk, refuses my payment for the night (truth I came in last in the evening, and haven’t really used many facilities ; still, I think his act was brave as moreover it was the first camping who didn’t charge at a higher percentage, the legal ‘taxe de séjour’ which is a government charge to be imposed by every touristic lodging (I hope this blog won’t turn you off from visiting France which remains a beautiful country after all! )