“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu
- Sunrise from my bedroom at Corazon Puro
The first day of my Camino begins with a beautiful sunrise seen from the tiny balcony of my room at Albergue Corazon Puro. (Note: The original Corazon Puro is no longer in operation.)
Surprisingly, when I join the other pilgrims downstairs, breakfast is a Spanish version of Wheaties. I suppose that eating “the breakfast of champions” isn’t entirely inappropriate on the first day of a 481 mile journey by foot from southern France to the northwest coast of Spain. Toast and jam, a tiny cake, and little “cow” cheese wedges comprise the rest of the meal. Being accustomed to eating protein every morning, usually two eggs over-easy, I am not thrilled, but I’ll survive. My plan is to get some kind of protein in St. Jean Pied de Port, which is where I will begin the Camino.
- Gate of St. James, built in the 15th century, leads to Rue de Citadelle through the old part of St. Jean
…to find food, a bank, hiking poles, a postcard, and sunglasses (I was so disappointed when I realized I had left mine at home). My first stop was at a butcher shop to get that much-needed morning protein. I bought a local Basque salami that was recommended by the butcher, who spoke English (thankfully, since I couldn’t recall any of my high school French), and who told me that he has family in California. He threw in some jerky as well, which I decided to keep in my shoulder bag to munch on while hiking. Then I wandered around town looking for an inexpensive pair of sunglasses, which was more difficult than I would have imagined but gave me an opportunity to see a little more of St. Jean Pied de Port.
- A pilgrim disappearing down Rue de la Citadelle, St. Jean Pied de Port, Camino de Santiago
- At last I am ready to leave. I walk down the cobbled street, passing a charming view of the River Nive, and begin my journey with a single step…