The Great Pyrenees

So after a few initial trials (Lauren's flight being canceled, not finding each other for 2 hours in the Barcelona airport, finding that busses don't run on Sundays to St. Jean and taxis have higher rates, Lauren getting sick enough to have to try to get medicine at a Spanish farmacia...) we've started our camino! We stayed in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port in some hippy lady's house with the phrase "Zen Relax" posted all over. Then we hiked to Valcarlos where we stayed in the basement of an elementary school. We had to ask at a bar down the street for a key to the place. It was surprisingly nice all things considered.
Today we tackled the Pyrenees Mountains and man we were not expecting the serious mountains that they are. We went over IbaƱeta Pass where Charlemagne crossed to conquer the Iberian Peninsula for catholics everywhere. You would think he would have found a better way though considering it was a 3000 ft vertical climb in about 7 miles. At least this is better than the high road that takes you up a 4500 ft climb. Despite the grueling ascent, it was the most amazing hike we've ever made. The place is straight out of a fairy tale with all old growth forests with moss and fern covered floors.
Tonight we will stay in the monestary at Roncesvalles where Roland, acting as Charlemagne's rearguard, was defeated by the Basques in 778. Believe me, this seems to be a pretty big deal here. We've seen no less than 3 monuments to Roland, and in the 900 year old chapel there apparently sits Charlemagne's chess set.
Other than enchanted forests and Roland, we've mostly been passing by 500 year old farmhouses surrounded by sheep, sheep dogs, and Shepard's. Its not speculation about the houses either, most have their construction dates and original owners engraved in stone on the front. Pretty much the most damn quaint place in the world.

27 km down and only about 760 to go! 


  1. Damn man that sounds sweet! Sorry to hear about the mess ups at the beginning hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out!