Day 0 - St Jean Pied de Port

May 27, 2014 -

The seeds of my Camino were planted years before I walked, but it wasn't until I found myself thinking about a resent life transition and the loss it produced that I started to move with intention towards St. Jean. While walking one day, I was meditating on a passage from scripture which says, "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." This passage spoke both of where I felt like I was standing and what the way forward would look like. While prayerfully thinking about what impact these words could have on my life, other words came to mind. The words "Buen Camino" which can be translated "Good Way" suddenly seemed connected to what I was seeking to discern. I realized in that moment walking the Camino would be a physical express of the inward spiritual journey I had been invited on over the past two years. I had a sense it would help to give voice to what I was learning. When I told my wife about what I had been thinking about on my morning walk, she simply said, "Go". Thanks to her support, and the support of many others, I found myself on a plane, then a train and finally a bus that would drop me off at the place where I would begin to walk 500 miles.

I arrived in St. Jean Pied de Port by bus from Bayonne, Fr. around 9 am. It gave me a full day to get acclimated and prepare my mind for the trek over the Pyrenees the next day.

The pilgrim's office. There weren't any crowds at this time of day.

After obtaining my pilgrim's passport, I checked into the albergue Beliari. I had tried to book a room hear early on in my planning because they provide a communal meal where you can meet people before you begin. They were full. A week before I left I check again and found a bed had opened up. It was a gift because several of the people I met at dinner would become people I would walk with for days and weeks.

I shared a room with three beds, very clean and tidy.

The citadel which overlooks St. Jean.

I spent some time in the afternoon in the church. Praying for the journey, asking for God's blessings, and listening for what He might want to speak to me in the moment. The candlelight provided a wonderful atmosphere in which to still and quite my soul.

Our host at Beilari led us in a couple of ice breakers before dinner to get the conversation started. It was here that I first met people like: Sergio, Yavidan, Annemarie, Litsa, Brant and Josef. They were people with whom I would begin my Camino and walk with for many days and weeks.

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