Our first day is not a long distance—barely 8k but in that 8k is a 800metre climb. We prepare by eating a hearty breakfast which included a French apple cake, Basque fig preserve, Basque chocolate hazelnut, Basque black cherry jam, fresh banquettes, butter coffee, eggs and more. And then read the signs of heart attack….just in case.
We were out the door by 8, most of us leaving our backpacks there to be picked up by a courier company and would be waiting for us at Refuge Orisson by the time we arrived exhausted by our short but intense gasping climb.
First stop the St Jean Pied du Port Market, held only on Mondays. We stock up on three types of Brebis (sheep) cheese, sliced, jambon du puy?, fruit, and baguette.
And we huff and puff our way up the mountain to Refuge Orrison arriving 3 hours later. Sarah and Sophie were waiting for us drinking Basque cider.
Kilometres walked: 8 exhauting ones
Food highlights: local Brebis cheese, 3 types.
Highlight: Sophie. She revealed she was a masseuse! Yes, really and we all got leg massages.