Easy bus ride from Gare de Bayonne to St. Jean Pied-de-Port this morning with my fellow travelers. Legend dates the founding of the town to the king of Pamplona in 716. By the end of the 12th century St. Jean Pied-de-Port had become one of the most important towns north of the Pyrenees because of its strategic location at the base of the mountain passes.
A single cobblestone road lined with shops, hotels, guest houses, and restaurants runs through the old section of town. This is the traditional starting point of the French Way to Compestela, and the gathering spot for hordes of modern-day pilgrims.
After dropping off my bags at the Hotel Ramuntcho, conveniently located at 1 Rue de France, I walked a short distance down the road to find the 14th century church. Other than the Bayonne Cathedral, Norte-Dame-du-Bout-du-Pont is the largest Gothic building in the French Basque Country.
I stepped into the darkened space for a quiet period of prayer and meditation, after which I hiked up the Napoleon Route half way to Orisson.
I wanted to scout the road since tomorrow is supposed to be stormy and the way over the Roncevaux Pass may be difficult. There were reports that some hikers had to be rescued yesterday because of the weather. There's an alternative route that goes through Valcarlos which is supposed to be more protected.
I'll get a good night sleep and make the decision tomorrow.