Day 35 - Ostabat
Now we are definitely in the foothills of the Pyrenees. We had to tackle some serious hills today. The Basque countryside is beautiful right now. The fields are as green as spring and the traditional white buildings with red shutters, roofs and doors create a striking landscape. We passed by a school today and listened to the children at recess. We both had a tinge of nostalgia, knowing that this is our first September not hearing their cheerful voices.
We had enjoyed getting to know Phillip from Dutch Belgium last night and walked with him for a while until we came to a rest stop where Jan from Holland had been walking the morning with Bob from Grand Rapids, Michigan. We soon had a picnic table full of Dutchman, fortunately speaking English. Bob has been walking since June, starting in Germany, through the Swiss Alps to Le Puy, France to start the Camino to finish in Santiago.
By noon we had survived a strenuous hill in the rising heat to arrive at a mountain top chapel with shade trees. It was like a big oasis to the pilgrims as everyone stopped to eat, rest and soak in the amazing view.
Our gite tonight is in Ostabat which overlooks a valley and the mountains that we will soon be crossing. There was no dinner at the gite so we ate at a restaurant that served a pilgrims dinner where we were joined by six others. One couple about our age are doing the Camino in stages like many, but sleeping in a tent each night, not for economic reasons, but because they prefer it. They just wait until it’s starting to get dark and set up their tent in a field.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Via Podiensis. We will be half way and will begin The Camino Frances. Tonight we fall to sleep listening to Basque young men gustily singing their songs at the nearby bar.