Date: 1 September 2018
Accommodation: Gite Izaxulo
Weather: Fine, sunny, cloudy at times – 29 degrees
We arrived in St Jean Pied de Port yesterday from Madrid via train to Pamplona and an hour and a half taxi ride. We were very fortunate to have a taxi driver who could obviously see through rock mountain walls as he insisted on negotiating hairpin turns through the Pyrenees on the wrong side of the road with no visibility at 20 kms above the speed limit. We are still not sure if it was the most brilliant or stupid driving we have ever seen but did seriously think that our days were numbered.
We arrived in the beautiful Basque town of St Jean Pied de Port after some difficulty in finding our hotel. Unfortunately our driver’s urban navigation skills did not match his rally driving abilities. The hotel was just as crazy. It was not cheap by rural French standards (€70 per night) but we were informed that guests staying more than one night (such as us) are not actually allowed in the hotel between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm. The hotel also seemed to have a policy of not providing any room servicing (emptying bins, providing toilet paper). However, the ban on actually being able to be in the hotel room for which one has paid had the obvious advantage of making one explore a very small town in great detail.
St Jean Pied de Port is a lovely town boasting a Citadel, a railway station, a river, a mountain backdrop, a children’s park, a supermarket, several atm’s, many eating establishments….. (it is amazing what 7 hours of room exile helps one discover).
We are writing this on Saturday evening ready to commence the Camino tomorrow morning. This will only be after we consume the hearty €5 hotel breakfast consisting of 1 piece of bread (so glad we paid in advance).