(Photo by Leon at the Pilgrim’s Office)
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, to Valcarlos, Spain
In James Michener’s Iberia, he says that all Medieval pilgrims had four essential items: a warm cloak that could also be used as a blanket or pillow; an eight-foot staff for walking and for keeping off aggressive dogs, spangled with gourds used to hold drinking water; sturdy sandals; and a wide brimmed floppy hat. As we set off on our journey from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, we are not that different from those earlier pilgrims. We have our impermeable jackets on or strapped to our backpacks. Our walking sticks, while not eight feet long, are fairly tall. Instead of gourds, we have fancy new hydration (water) packs, but they serve the same purpose as the gourds. Back in Houston we spent a lot of time trying to locate the right, sturdy but comfortable, hiking boots. And we both have our hats. Mine is wide brimmed. James’s can more correctly be deemed “jaunty.” You’ll see it in a future post. And of course we both carry our cockle shells, mine affixed to my backpack.
This was a very rough day for me. More steps than ever, many of them uphill. I was ready to quit 2/3rds of the way to Valcarlos, but James urged me on and I finally straggled in quite late.
Steps Today: 28,164