We were not in a hurry to leave our hostel this morning. We were not going to be walking very far and the more relaxed start meant that we were able to catch the 8:30 am mass at the Cathedral of Notre Fame-du-Pont in Saint-Jean-de-Pied-Port. As someone who isn’t a Roman Catholic and who doesn’t speak Basque, I wasn’t expecting much from this religious service. So, I was pleasantly surprised. The music was wonderful and there was plenty of singing. Whatever the language and whatever the religion or faith, beautiful singing is beautiful singing. The service put me in a good frame of mind for the Pyrenees mountain climb awaiting us.
We finally set off at 9:00 am and headed for our hostel in Orisson, which was only about 8 kms away, but I noted the elevation at 800 metres. I love climbing mountains. It is one of my favourite things to do, so I was really looking forward to today. The wind was blowing a gale, howling in fact, and the rain came lashing down, and I was happy. I even looked happy according to my mother. It is hard to stop grinning when you get views like those around us as we hiked.
The Pyrenees are old mountains, rounded, but still stunningly beautiful and threatening. To me they seemed like a cross between the Brecon Beacons in Wales and the highlands of Scotland. Not only were they starkly beautiful, but they were fun to climb.
On our ascent, we met two Canadians, one from the Yukon and one from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Both women have been travelling by themselves and only met yesterday. Now we have met them too. It is kind of fun to run into fellow Canadians on our second to last day on the Camino. We guessed that they were Canadians as they were wearing sandals to climb in. They stood out next to everyone else’s lug-soled, heavy duty hiking boots. The Canadian flags fluttering on their packs was also a good indicator.
The hearty Yukoner continued on from Orisson. The rest of we mere mortals stopped and camped for the night. We only have 19 kms of uphill trails left to us for the morning.