It's Sunday night in Sydney. This time next week, it will be late morning in Paris. If all has gone according to plan, we will be relaxing on the fast train from Paris to Bayonne, the second leg of our planes, trains and automobile journey, which will take us to where our Camino begins – St Jean Pied de Port.
At Bayonne train station, we will meet Caroline who runs the Bourricot Express – pronounced boo-re-co – rough translation, the donkey or mule express. You can book the Bourricot Express to ‘carry’ your pack along The Way between St Jean and Pamplona if you need to – so that’s one meaning.
But there’s another. Bourricot is also French slang for stubborn person (stubborn as a mule, as in English), which perhaps most peregrinos are. Surely, it helps to be at least a little stubborn to set out on such an adventure. We will take the Bourricot Express (the car, not the donkey) to travel the 50 kms from Bayonne to St Jean.
St Jean Pied de Port (Saint John at the foot of the mountain pass) is a picture perfect French village at the foot of the Pyrenees, just 8 kms from the Spanish border. It is the old capital of the traditional Basque province of Lower Navarra and the traditional starting point of the Camino Frances, an 800 km 'pilgrimage' across the north of Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
So from there we will set out, taking our Camino one step at a time. Until then … with a big thank you to our families and friends for your encouragement and best wishes … hasta la vista, amigos.
Jenny and Jill xx
'Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.'