Sept 30: Carracotchia to St Jean Pied de Port

Route: Carracotchia to St Jean Pied de Port   10 km

The rising sun colors the hills a luminous, eye-poping green, making a picturesque backdrop for the white Basque houses and farm buildings, with their red roofs and shutters. We skirt the hillside in great arcs, sometimes topping a ridge. There are several small towns enroute, and St Jean le Vue would be a good alternative to SJPP for those going on to Spain via Orisson or Valcarlos without a rest day. SJPP seems like a large city, after the weeks in rural France, although it is smaller than Cahors. This town has subsisteed off pilgrims for centuries, and now is no exception. Drinks are more than double what we have been paying. The Tourism Office is extremely helpful, arranging lodging and the return trains to Paris. The Pilgrim Office is also exceptionally friendly and helpful, with route details etc. The stores have all needed supplies (Yes Altus raincoat, no Pacer Poles). One friend reported the cost of shipping 4 kgs to US ran 51 euros; the pilgrim office does have a donation box.

Lodging: CH Errecaldia with three rooms, nicely renovated with a private bath ensuite. Host is a friendly Brit with lots of good info on the local scene (he explained many mysteries of French culture, for example).

Cuisine: Excellent restaurant just inside the town wall gate from the TO (on Rue d’Eglise) Also excellent place behind the Central Hotel, across the bridge.

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