August 26, 2022

St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France

Dear Family & Friends:

Tomorrow, I start my 600 mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago.

I had some bumps in the road getting here, but I am now resting comfortably at the Hotel des Pyrenees in the picturesque village of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France. This is the only stopping point in France on the Camino Frances. Last night, I stayed in a bed & breakfast six miles out of SJPP. The bed & breakfast was fantastic and the views were stunningly beautiful. On the way to the bed & breakfast, I met Mike & Amy Eilers from Iowa. They are my first pilgrim friends and I expect to see more of them on the Camin

SJPP is a walled, medieval village which sits directly below La Citadel, a fortress built before the village to protect the French against marauding invaders. SJPP has lots of great hotels and restaurants. The food is spectacular. Like everyone else who is on this pilgrimage, I visited the  Pilgrim Office in SJPP to get my bearings and my Credentials stamped. The staff was very friendly and helpful.
Tomorrow will be a tough day since I cross the Pyrenees mountains as I enter Spain. There is a lot of elevation gain and lots of ups and downs, accompanied by some route finding issues. But, I will have lots of company, and I feel like I am ready for the challenge. The distance travelled is 15 miles.
Yes, the Hotel des Pyrenees is a luxury hotel. But, I recon if I treat my tired, 80-year old body well at the beginning of the trip, it will serve me well when times get more tough and primitive.
I have an admission. I brought my DJI Mini 3 Pro drone on the trip to film the adventure. Camino de
Santiago purists will decry this transgression. But, the overhead video footage will be stunning, and I will never use my drone to film other pilgrims.
I am posting photos and videos every day on Facebook. The Facebook link is in my last blog post.
My next stop is the village of Roncesvalles on the other side of the Pyrenees.

Bed & Breakfast

Stamping my credentials in SJP

The stamp

The Fortress


The Wall around SJPP

The cobblestone streets

My hotel

A nice dinner

My drone