Day 2, Sept 28 – Orisson to Ronsevalles

View from the Pyrenees with the mist way down below

The weather was perfect for crossing up and over the Pyrenees. Sunny, a bit of a breeze, not to warm. You couldn’t ask for anything better! The views were impressive, almost Heidi-like with large dairy cows with huge bells tied around their necks, ponies and sheep. An older man with two elderly sheep dogs walked past. Looking at the hills and dales with patches of Forrest and few fences I imagine you would need sheepdogs to save long hikes finding and herding the sheep.

Down below mist covered St Jean Pied du Port, villages and farms. We were so much higher than the mist. One couldn’t see where the bottom was. It was, supposedly illegal to camp here but we came across a one-person tent. I assume the inhabitant was still fast asleep. What a view he/she would wake up to: a deep valley immediately dropping off in front of the tent, blue skies and a full moon above.

We paused where a van had set up a refreshment stand, sat on the grass had a drink and half of our bocadillo (sandwhich) we had purchased from Orisson. Peter from Rotterdam sat beside us and appreciated the view below.

It was hard work but no where as hard as the day before. Yesterday was a killer. Today just plain hard work made easier by the good weather and views.

Map of the route

We walked with Joyce and somehow the conversation turned to poignant stories. I told her Matt’s (whom I met last year) story. His daughter had married and soon after, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Before he started chemo they froze some of his sperm. He eventually passed away. Six years after his death the wife (Matts daughter) gave birth to a son.

Joyce told me of a similar story in the UK but in this instance the deceased husbands parents didn’t want her to conceive and fought a court case to prevent her from accessing his sperm. The judge eventually ruled in the wife’s favour, that she had inherited the sperm. In another story, a young unmarried man was killed in a motorcycle accident. His body was found two days later and his wealthy parents had his sperm saved, found a surrogate mother and had a grandson and heir.

We stopped again at the top and then began the steep descent down to the monastery at Roncesvalles.

Distance travelled: 17.3 of which 13.3k was uphill from 900metres to1,450 meters and then a nice 4K downhill.

Food: toasted baguette with butter and jam, coffee, bocadillo, horrible vegetable (spinach? kale?) soup, fried chicken, chips, vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

Lesson learned: if the going gets tough, don’t take baggage.

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