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Linda JeffersIn a world of so many great photographers and writers, I am venturing into some unknown territories, leaving comfort zones, finally very willing to practice the art of seeing. By maintaining the practice of posting daily photos, I hope to continue learning about the possibilities that I trust are out there for the taking.

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Sunday, Sept. 7th – St. Jean Pied de Port to Orisson, 5.6 km

Sunday, Sept. 7th

St. Jean Pied de Port to Orisson, 5.6 km

Out the door at 6:00am after having set our alarms for 4:45. Neither Pat nor I slept much again. I went to bed around 11:00pm and woke up 12:30am wide awake. After deciding to journal Friday and Saturday’s blog I got in another 2 hours of sleep.

Pat let me know it had rained last night. I know last night Pat was concerned throughout the night with the lightning over our route she could see from her bed. I assured her (like I really knew) it was nothing to be alarmed about. It was only the kind of lightning that illuminates the sky but doesn’t strike down to the ground. Fog had rolled in last night and was still present this morning. I was thrilled Pat didn’t bring up doing the other Camino route strongly recommended when there is fog! I just casually mentioned that the fog would burn off before long. (Again like I really knew!) what I did know was that I wanted to hike the Napoleon Route for the views and photo ops.

We packed up and headed out in the dark, in wet clothes we’d washed the night before that hadn’t dried because of the moisture from the rain. The street lamp out front of our hotel cast great light on the street so I asked Pat to come back a few feet and stand in the street again while I shot her photo. I had the ISO up at 5000 and, on the Fujifilm XT-1 I’m shooting with, I knew I’d have lots of grain in the photo but didn’t care. I liked the look of the foggy, dark, but we’ll lamp lit, street scene. I shot many low lit by street lamp and early morning light fog shots with Pat featured, usually in silhouette. I was in heaven shooting braking morning light through the fog that was in fact lifting as I’d promised!

Pat’s glasses were fogging up from the cool of the morning and her over heated body. Mine were fogging a little too but I can see when I take my glasses off, Pat can’t. She asked me to stay in her vision so she could follow me.

We were the only Pilgrims on the Camino for about an hour. But then they started passing us, and from then on everyone of the 200 plus in town beginning their hike passed us….even one kid in a group of teens smoking while walking up the hardest hike of the entire Camino. We are slow!!! But who cares, right? I enjoy the leisurely pace so I can shoot everything I want without worrying that I’m holding someone up.

The first day’s hike from St Jean to Roncesvalles is known as the most difficult day’s hiking on the Camino. It is straight uphill (without benefit of switchbacks for the most part). Now we only hiked to Orisson today per Pat’s request. This is a new adventure for Pat. However, these miles where we gained approximately 2,150 feet were harder than the same elevation gain on the PCT because as I mentioned we walked straight up hill with little to no relief. Pat really was a trooper today. She kept walking a pace that allowed her to keep moving without stopping much. Both of us were surprised that our bodies, feet and knees experienced no problems at all. It really helped that we left as early as we did avoiding the worst of the heat. I don’t really know what my pack weighed but I’d guess around 30-32 pounds. Everyone was dripping with sweat on the way up.

We arrived at the Albergue in Orisson by 10:10 am. So early to stop walking but that was our deal. It has turned out great. We’ve showered, washed and hung are clothes on the clothesline out back, rotating clothes on the line so the’d dry, had coffee with milk x two, eaten two meals and will have our third meal at 6:30pm with the other Pilgrims staying here. Pat had made us reservations at this Albergue months ago. Many Pilgrims were very disappointed they couldn’t stay. There are only 18 beds and tenting out back. We were given one of the two rooms that have only 2 beds. Other people are placed in rooms with people they don’t know.

At 6:30pm a group dinner was served to all of the Pilgrims staying at the Albergue. I was not looking forward to this. The meal was quite good…. Bread-lots of it (dry, never with butter), delicious white been veggie soup, pork slices and more beans!!!, and potatoes au gratin and almond pie-like cake (very tasty and I understand they are famous for it).

Those who work and run this Albergue are extremely good natured and very helpful. I was impressed with how quickly and politely they dealt with each of us throughout the day. Dinner conversations going on we’re difficult to hear with over 50 people talking to one another. During the end of dinner there is a tradition we were told about. Everyone goes around the room introducing themselves to the group stating names, home town, how they came to hike the Camino etc. Not my kind of evening as many of you know but I was pleasant and no one knew what I was thinking. But when one of the humongous cows stuck his head into the dining room for a second I was out the door shooting photos of that cow and all his other friends walking down the small street 10 feet from where we were dining.

While hastily changing camera cards the top cover over the card holder flipped off. That problem had my attention until I figured out a way to replace it.

Back to our room I found out my headlight batteries were dead. Set up my charging station with all my techno gear plugged in. In a matter of minutes the loudest thunder boomed. Rain fell hard and furiously and lightning kept the small window above Pat’s head looking as if someone were shining a flash light into our room. I closed the window. Walking toward the door I noticed a stream of water moving quickly right by the iPhone, iPad and camera battery charger I had on the floor. I unplugged it all just in time. Eventually our floor was flooded and the electricity went out. Pat felt sorry for the people sleeping in the tents out back. I didn’t. They were probably dry. Our room was all wet. That storm came in so fast. We were right in the middle of the storm cloud. Getting packed up in the dark for our early pre dawn departure was interesting. We used Pat’s headlamp. With no light and nothing to do, I went to bed early!

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3 Responses to “Sunday, Sept. 7th – St. Jean Pied de Port to Orisson, 5.6 km”

  1. Ray Jeffers says:

    Good writing I really enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks

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