Our flight to Biarritz, France was uneventful. Shuttle from our hotel to the airport was arranged by our very attentive and handsome Frenchman. We met several ladies at the airport who were on their way to St. Jean Pied de Port. So four of us (included Sue and Dierdre) took a taxi to St. Jean - this way we avoided the bus ride from the airport to the train station in Bayonne, France and train trip to St. Jean; plus the cost was only 25 Euros per person. The ride was lovely and the valley around St. Jean, Capital in the Basque region / Providence of Navarre, was even more beautiful.
We stayed in a nice 2 bedroom apt. located at the top of a hill
Here I am at the Pilgrim Office in St. Jean to obtain my Credential (or "passport"). Each hostel or albergue I slept in, I had them put a stamp in my Credential. I also received the stamp of some of the bars where I ate (cafes / restaurants are called bars) and churches. At the end of my journey in Santiago, I presented my Credential to the pilgrim office and received my Compostela (Certificate of completion. )
Sample of a Credential or passport.
We had a lovely meal at one of the bars in St. Jean - yummy salad with tuna, baked potatoes, tomatoes, chicken, grilled pineapple and olive oil and vinegar dressing. (Olive oil / vinegar is the dressing that is served with all the lettuce salads)
More pictures in and around St. Jean
In the middle of town is a prison which was used from the end of the 18C to the 20C (the nazis imprisoned men trying to escape to Spain in this prison)
Church in St. Jean - we attended a Pilgrim Mass on Sept 6th. There were several priests saying mass, and the blessing was after mass when the Pilgrims came to the front of church.
Prayer presented to us: "Dear Lord Jesus Christ, be for them their companion on the way, their guide at the cross-roads, there shelter on the road, their shade in the heat, their light in the darkness, their comfort in weariness and their resolve in intentions. So that through your guidance they arrive sound at the end of their road, and, enriched with grace and virtue, return home healthy and full of worthy virtues. March in the name of Christ who is the way, and pray for us in Compostela".
With a prayer like that I was confident that I would be safe on my journey across Spain.
I will start my Camino each day with the intention of being Thankful, asking for safety and health, asking for clarity in my future and prayers for relatives / friends who are ill.
The Scallop Shell guided the way for the Pilgrims: posted on signs or embedded in the ground or on trees
Each Pilgrim receives a scallop shell to hang on their back pack, this identifies them as a Pilgrim on the Camino
St. Jean, France to Los Arcos. Spain