St Jean Pied de Port to Orisson

Walking down the steep meandering ancient street of the medieval town of St Jean Pied de Port (at the foot of the pass) I was imagining what tales the cobblestones had to tell of the hidden secrets and adventures untold behind the myriad of doors peering out to pilgrims with their different thoughts and feelings, also meandering their way towards the mighty Pyrenees

Weaving our way through the adventurers we saw Koreans cycling slowly, young and old from diverse cultures with bags too heavy, nothing too light but all with their different stories of what brought them on this long journey. We said ‘Buen Camino’  (good walking) as we walked past, their response indicating whether they wanted to continue talking or not, those that wanted to talk had seen my shirt with  “Walking for Parkinsons”, which drew many supportive and interesting comments

The dense fog prevented us from seeing the magnificent hills and valleys, and from seeing a sign post which led to another kilometre, ( just what we needed), but also kept us cool and continued on that mysterious hidden world of St Jean. After a fairly continuos three hour climb, out of the fog the ‘refugio’ of Orison appeared. The lack of breath taking views meant that many of us had made contact which gave us a ready made entree into dinner where that contact soon mushroomed into friendships, further warmed by the log fire for the fifty of us. It was here that we met the teasing Swiss, the friendly Kiwis, the caring Aussies, the special Portuguese, the quiet Koreans, the outspoken French Basque, the affable Americans, and the accommodating British amongst others. A truly wonderful and inspiring day

Some photos