Well day 1 and 2 are in the books!
Our Camino de Santiago adventure began with a thankfully uneventful flight on Iberia from Miami to Madrid. After a 4 hour layover which had us running to a different terminal because of a late gate switch, we boarded so small Air Nostrum plane (14 rows) to Biarritz in France. After the passport check (again), we hailed a wild ride, I mean a taxi to Saint Jean Pied de Port. For future Peregrinos, this is not economical. It was a 100 euro ride. However after all the planes and security checks, it was well-worth the convenience.
We arrived at Hotel Camou around 3:30 pm. It was everything you’d expect in France. The room was decorated nicely. The bath towels are another story. Then the church bells started. Every hour it rings once for each hour so if it’s six o’clock, it rings six times and seven times for seven o’clock and so forth. But wait…there is more. It also rings on the half hours. This church and its ‘heavenly’ bell is just across the street from our ‘must be left open window’. Imagine that lovely sound when you’re trying to sleep.
We explored St. Jean Pied de Port in the afternoon. It’s a quaint little village. It is perfectly kept to give one the illusion one is at Disney or some other theme park. At the Pilgrim’s office we were oriented to the Camino by Nuria from Spain. She was so pleasant and helpful. As if we weren’t already excited, she helped us ramp it up.
We also went the main gate were Peregrinos enter St. Jean Pied de Port when coming from other parts of Europe. We got our first pictures of our starting point, our pilgrimage begins with vivid memories of a wild cab ride and loud bells, but also a welcoming town.