Walking West – Arriving

Day 0 – Arriving – San Antonio | Austin | Atlanta | Barcelona | Zaragoza | Pamplona | Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port


If it won’t fit in the 36-liter pack, you have too much…
Looking away from the long line at the Pilgrim Office, and towards the awaiting Pyrenees.
The river Nive
An early ascent from the village, a head start for Day 1.
The best shelters have a garden, La Coquille Napoléon had the best.

Exhaustion battled anticipation for two days as I was moved at unnatural speeds across the globe. Day 0 ended at the garden picnic tables of La Coquille Napoléon. A Hungarian pilgrim shared two bottles of wine with the other pilgrims from England (2), Italy (3), Germany (3), and Texas (1 – yours truly).

Being the only veteran pilgrim at the table, there was a torrent of questions for me. I had made a vow to not impose my past experience on myself and others, applying the wisdom of Heraclitus:

“You cannot step twice into the same rivers; for fresh waters are ever flowing upon you.”

So, I limited my advice to, “persevere tomorrow over the Pyrenees, and don’t be discouraged by the hardship of the first week. Keep going.”

With a big tomorrow looming before us, we all turned in early. Sleep came easy in the ten-bunk room. And remarkably, it was a snore-free room, a rarity in albergue living.


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