Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Monday, November 16, 2015

To Orisson

On my first Camino, I walked all the way to Roncesvalles. It was a mistake for me. I injured myself and was unable to complete the Camino because of shin splints.

My advice to most pilgrims these days is to take that first day, called "Hell Day" by many, in TWO stages.

It's really not difficult and can save you from injuring yourself and bringing your Camino to a screeching halt or making it painful.

If you can, book your first night in SJPP and your second night in Orisson. If Orisson is full or you cannot get reservations, don't worry. Just book two nights in SJPP.

Get up the first morning and walk to Orisson. Orisson has a nice restaurant. You can sit outside and rest, or go inside and have hot soup and chocolate or coffee. Once you have rested, you can either walk back down into SJPP, or you can take a taxi.

Caroline from Express Bouricott, begins taking pilgrims back DOWN to SJPP around 2 pm. So if this is your plan, you don't have to get up too early to start, because the walk up to Orisson takes an average of 3 hours. If you are there by noon, you can have a leisurely lunch while you watch pilgrims trodding by.

Joe and Father Jeffrey having a rest
The folks at Orisson will call a taxi for you. Make your arrangements for Day 2 with the taxi, in person, or find the phone number online. Or, ask your hospitalero to call for you.

Inside it's warm and cozy
The second morning, take the taxi back up to Orisson
and continue up and over the Pyrenees.

Sometimes you will walk with cows!

I didn't see these cows until I was right up on them!
In the fog, all you hear are the tinkling bells the farmers keep around their necks. It is a sound you don't forget and is magical to me.

Other times, you might see horses ranging the hills.


We left St. Jean early the next morning.
Here we are - two Camino greenhorns -
ready to tackle the Pyrenees!

The climb itself was spectacular, even though difficult. 
First you climb up, up, UP to the top of the mountain...

Following pilgrims up the road to Orisson
Colorful slugs led the way
Looking back and down into St. Jean Pied du Port
Looking down almost made me dizzy
Bright red berries covered with foggy dew
Spring Trip

We took two days to get to Roncesvalles. 
The first day we walked to Orisson.
Some walked back to St. Jean and some took a cab.
We had dinner together at a local cafe.

The next morning, 
we set out early.
The morning was very foggy when we began.

I could hear the cow bells tinkling in the fog but couldn't see the cows!
 It eventually cleared off and was nice walking.

Bob and Evette trekking up the hill.
At Orisson, the group enjoyed visiting
and getting to know each other
 while we waited for our taxi.
Sharing photos

Autumn Trip

Day 1 we walked to Orisson.
The weather was perfect!
Sunny and clear.
Everybody was excited to get started!
Photo from Linda Hendricks

Cattle and sheep on the hillside.
Photo from Linda Hendricks

 Charmaine and Edna take a well-deserved break.

We were happy to find Hunto Albergue open
for coffee and tea about half way up the steep hill.

Hi Linda!

Hi Eileen!

Looking back from where we walked today
 Patty was happy to see Orisson,
and came in at a run!

Jeff and Joe were already there when I arrived,
resting and drinking a coke.

I took the low road instead of the upper trail.
Along the way, I looked back and saw
Charmaine and Edna behind me.
The views on this lower route were spectacular!

Edna arrives.

Linda Hendricks took this photo as they arrived at Orisson.
Once we arrived at Orisson,
some folks walked back down to SJPP.
Others waited for the taxi to pick us up
and deliver us back at our Gite.

That night was Jeff's birthday,
so we had a little cake for him.

Bedtime came early because tomorrow would be an early start.

2014 Spring/Summer

Yesterday began beautifully. 

The sun was shining and the sky was blue. 
Fluffy clouds floated lazily above us and we felt blessed.  

By the time we got to Orisson 
we were bending against winds over 75 kph! 

Joe walked one group up to Orisson then returned, like a good shepherd, to bring Barbara and I around the last 1k curve into safety. It was very difficult walking and all who did it should be proud if themselves!

Coming around the last bend.

Once safely at Orisson, we enjoyed a restful lunch 
while waiting for our taxi to return us to St Jean. 

Before dinner, Pierre and Didier, owners of the Gite Compostelle, surprised us with aperitifs. We really had a wonderful visit with them. We love Gite Compostella!  

We had a great potluck for dinner!  
I had purchased some bacalau in Pamplona. 
Chantal offered to cook it Mauritian style and it was delicious!  Barbara brought bread and olives and butter. 
Paul and Pat and Jack brought potato salad. 
Gary brought wine. 
Jan brought cake. 
Kevin brought ice cream. 
It was soooooo good!

Barbara and Gary cleaned up while the rest of us went to Mass where we received a Pilgrim Blessing. 
I lit candles for our safety and the safety of my family. 
If these winds keep up, we will need it!

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