Day 1: St Jean PdP to Orrison
September 17, 2018
8 km all uphill (phone says 10.4 km)
I left St Jean as the bells were chiming 10 am. I had checked in with the pilgrim office and got my shell and first stamp. The woman there said it was 4 hours to Orrison. The man who sold me my hiking poles said 2 hours. I started walking hoping I would be there in 3 hours. It took me almost 4.5 hours. That’s what I get for not training.
The walk was beautiful. I will be typing that sentence often. Later when I was walking parts with Andrea from Brazil, who only spoke some English, all we had to do was point to the scenery and say beautiful to communicate. However, it was also hot. I drank three litters of water but should have had more. A saving grace was the vending machine by the side of the road an hour or so in to my walk. Plus this is where I first met the group I would walk with the most later. Further up there was a water tap by the side of the road. I missed another chance for cold water as I was so tired I sat by the side of the road on a low wall to take a break. If I had walk just around the bend I would have had another vending machine and tables and chairs to enjoy.
I had a reservation at the hostel in Orisson. It has limited beds so I had made the reservation back in March. I was in a room with 5 bunk beds (so 10 people) but luckily got a lower bunk. There wasn’t a seat on the toilet, but I tried to remind myself that doing squats was good after walking so much. Plus one shower didn’t work which of course is the one I went in to first and undressed before realizing it. In my room you had to have a token to start the shower and only got 5 minutes, but the view was spectacular if you looked past the full laundry lines right outside the door.
Dinner that night was the chance to meet many other pilgrims. They have a tradition of after dinner going around the room to have everyone say their name, where they are from and why they are walking. I said I was walking to simplify my life and to consider what to do next as I had just left my job.