• Travels around the world by Luca Buffoni
Santiago 2013: French Way

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port – Roncisvalle

Monday 8 July 2013

How difficult it is to wrap up the sleeping-bag at 5.30 a.m.! Notwithstanding this, at 6.20 a.m. Carlo, Flavio and me are ready to leave. First stage: from France to Spain through the Pyrenees, 25 km, 1300 m gradient ascent and 550 descent.
Nice weather… apart from the fresh in the morning, we could imagine the sun-stroke we would suffer during the day. While ascending the PYRENEES we could see the valleys covered by the fog… a wonderful scene, not inferior compared to the landscape we had amired few hours before from the summits.

In the first 15 km, even though ascending, everything went well: we were ENTHUSIASTIC! We spoke, greeted everybody, took photos, stopped comntnuously to regulate the backpack straps… After Roland’s Fountain, before reaching the highest point of the stage (1410 m), weariness started and the walk has become more lonely and concentrated.

AVOID to go down straight through the difficult track in the wood” suggested the stage guide… and without realising it, we went down right from there. It was a very steep descent causing pain to legs, knees, shoulders, feet… we regretted the ascent. But the Basajaun, the protecting spirit that from ancient times watches over the basque mountains, let us arrive at RONCISVALLE at 2 p.m. safe and sound.
We got our bed at the Auberge, took a shower and enjoyed the deserved rest.

This evening at the reataurant there was a gret table of pilgrims: Carline (London), Jill (France), Anya (Poland), Augustine and Armanddo (Spain), Carlo, Flavio and me. Before returning at the Aubergue I stopped by the church to get the pilgrim’s blessing (very evocative) that has been followed by a classic guitar concert.

The GOSPEL keeps on marking my steps while waiting for an encounter “If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.” (Mt 9,21)


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