May 28th 2014
The next couple of posts were corrupted so I will try to recreate them as best I can from the photos and our notes.
After we took the handicap taxi to St. Jean Pied de Porte we walked in the rain to the Pilgim Passport office to get us started. We waited in line and were lucky the person who helped us get registered spoke English, our Spanish was a mishmash of TV and books and Laura from H&R Block back home who taught me several phrases in Mexican Spanish. They were very surprised when they saw Deb in her wheelchair and more surprised when they heard we were attempting the whole 500 miles. They obviously didn’t know my wife, don’t tell her she can’t do something. We got our credentials and went back out in the rain to find a place to spend the night, we would attempt our first day tomorrow. It was then we realized it was going to be pretty cold going over the Pyrenees and we had left our jackets in South Carolina so first order of business was to go find coats. 150 Euros later, what was that about half the stuff and twice the money. Try not to have to buy things in St. Jean unless you have plenty of money, here we were already several hundred dollars down and we hadn’t even started yet.
Most of the Albergues were already full by now but as we were to learn the Camino will Provide (CWP). As we were inquiring where to stay someone overheard us and told us of a group of others with two disabled people who had rented a whole house on the edge of town and had an extra room. We set off and found them, they were happy to rent us a bedroom and invited us to their dinner too. They were a French not for profit group who took people on weekend holidays. My French was worse than my Spanish but we got along splendidly and just talked the human language of food. This was where I found out I am not as big an eater as I thought. These guys put away pounds of mashed potatoes and everything else. We were all amazed how much these thin people could eat, we would find out later we all ate like that after many miles of walking.