Day 36 - St. Jean Pied de Port
We made it half way! Tonight we are staying in the starting point of the Camino for 99 percent of Americans. In five minutes we met more Americans than in the last 36 days. The town is bursting with pilgrims anxious to start their Camino: clean new backpacks, sparkling clean shoes, excitement in the air. Checking in to the gite took an hour as the host needed to orient each new pilgrim. We were exactly where they are 36 days ago in Le Puy. We are hearing our last night of persistent French. We are a little sad to say goodbye, but are also excited to enter Part Two of our Camino.
Our walk today was relatively easy with a few hills. The scenery was spectacular. The Basque countryside is unique with every building painted white and the same red color as a strong accent. Properties are particularly well maintained, with fresh paint, clean farms and shortly cut lawns with plenty of flowers. Pastures are filled with cattle or sheep, ringing their bells and sometimes joining pilgrims on the trail.. We have also noticed a difference in church architecture, particularly inside. The interiors are freshly painted in maroon with teal ceilings.
Tonight we ate at a restaurant because the gite did not offer dinner. After all the local food we have been eating, we elected to eat hamburgers while we could. Tomorrow we climb 4000 ft of elevation, as we cross the Pyrenees Mountains. If we are not in condition for the task after 500 miles, we never will be!