Everyone Gets 15 Minutes of France

Bonjour from France!

We spent 3 days in Madrid and had a pretty fine time. We left Friday afternoon heading north after 3 nights with 2 different couchsurfing hosts. We took the bus from Madrid to the city of San Sebastián, which is located in northern Spain in Basque Country (País Vasco, as it is called in the Basque language, which is a regional language very dissimilar to Spanish and baffles linguists as it is unrelated to any other known language). We spent last night in a hostel near the city center and ate dinner with two American students we met who are spending the year studying in Madrid but were in San Sebastián for a short vacation.

This morning we visited the post office in San Sebastián where we stuffed a box with some of our excess belongings and mailed it to ourselves in the city of Santiago de Compostela, where we will collect it at the end of our walk. The idea is to carry as little weight as possible for this journey. Guess we’re committed to the whole 800 kilometers if we want to get our stuff back at the end. Then we caught several trains through the Basque Country to the town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, which is just a stone’s throw over the border from Spain. The last leg of our journey was on a cute, single-car train. As we got nearer and nearer to our destination we noticed more and more hikers, bikers and walkers of various ages and nationalities. We then landed in St. Jean which seems like the Mecca of the Camino. Pilgrims are everywhere.

Tomorrow will be the first day of our journey on foot toward Santiago de Compostela. It is expected to be a difficult day, covering nearly 30 kilometers and gaining about 1400 meters in elevation. We feel mostly ready, except that we both have colds and generally are not feeling very fit. Seemed like a good idea when we thought this up. More soon from the road!

20130504-232124.jpg TL: Cross walking aliens. BL: My first French Coffee from “Kafe Ole.” TR: Basque coffee shop – menu in Euskara and Castilian Spanish. BR: Suki the cat

20130504-232727.jpg Top: These trees have been trained so that their branches have connected and grown into the trees beside them. All of the trees are like one giant tree-system! BR: Tomorrow’s route.


8 thoughts on “Everyone Gets 15 Minutes of France

    • Erin,

      How did you know the “chin chin” toast? We’d never heard it before we stayed with our English hosts. We didn’t set up a FaceTime. We gotta set one up!!! When are you free?

      David & Austin

  1. Love you two – excited about the adventure you will have meeting fellow travelers. Love your curiosity, insistence on living your lives fully, finding the meaning and engagement you want, instead of settling for an uneasy compromise.

    • Dad,

      Appreciate your commenting on here. We are meeting people on the Camino and so far they seem very nice. This is an interesting activity. Have you seen the movie, The Way with Martin Sheen? I think you might enjoy it.

      Love you,


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