After walking 400 miles, it seems the hardest climb was getting our packs to the third floor of the St. Jean Pied de Port hotel. What no Medieval elevators? A very funny incident as we were going into the church for mass; I was wearing a beret, and looking quite Basque if I do say so, when I was stopped by a group of Oriental tourist, who wanted their picture taken with a local, so I posed for photos with them. Then I told them that I was American, and they and everybody watching almost fell down with laughter.
It is with mixed feelings of accomplishment and relief to come to the end of the trek, but to finish in St. Jean, where you see so many people just arriving at the start of the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela, leaves you with strange feeling. Maybe we should give them a send-off speech? No, everybody has to find their own answers and learn the lessons of the Camino on their own.
After we had left St. Jean we met a young girl from England on the train (the train was obviously going away from St. Jean). She had a pack and very clean brand new boots, and Monica ask if she was going to walk the Camino and where she was starting. She said she had planned to meet friends and walk with them, but had no idea where they were. She then ask where we thought was the best place on the Camino and maybe she should start from there. Then she ask if Sarria (the last town you can walk from and still meet the 100km requirement for a credential in Santiago) was a nice town? Here was a kid that didn’t have a clue, she was still on the train when we got off.
We are now in San Sebastion, Spain, the Basque foodie capital (Pamplona is the actual Capital of the Basque Country). San Sebastion has more Michelin star restaurants than Paris. We have found one, after exhaustive tastings of course, It is a four star pintxos & rationes bar in the old town, named “Atari.”