Day 1: April 25, 2016 – Orisson

Destination: Orisson Refuge

Distance: 8km uphill, some very steep.

Terrain: paved road, some dirt trail. Very steep, some 12-18% I’m sure.

Weather: cool mixed sun and cloud

Time: 2 1/2 hrs – 9:15 to 11:45am

I have to keep this brief because it’s hard to blog on an iPhone.

We arrived in SJPDP around 3pm Sunday afternoon after sharing a shuttle ride with a woman from Calgary.  It seemed much easier than bussing and taking the train. We checked into our room at Gite Ultreia (very nice with lots of room and our own bath) around 4:30pm. I’ve been sick so Erik went for a walk and I slept. We had a pilgrim meal at the restaurant at across the street and went to bed around 11:30.

We got up around 7:30 and got our suitcases ready for pickup before 8am then had breakfast downstairs with two women from Brazil – Ana Isobel and Ana Lucia.  My cold is almost gone but my gut is still acting up so I was slow leaving because I kept needing to use the bathroom. There are no bathrooms along the way…  We finally left town about 9:15 and were on our way!

SJPDP is a pretty little town in its own right and if I were to do it again, I would have stayed in town for a couple of nights. The road let town quickly and followed a narrow road all the way up, through gorgeous green farms and forests. Erik was in his glory to finally be on his way while I was simply hunkered inward, just trying to survive the day. I hadn’t  eaten more than 500-600 calories a day for past 2-3 days and had very little energy in addition to the intestinal bug. Hiking with a backpack was going to be interesting.

The last 4 km were VERY steep so we went quite slowly but the time passed quickly and all of a sudden we had arrived at our destination!

The Orisson Refuge stands all alone in the middle of the countryside so the accommodations included a group dinner and breakfast. During the day, many pilgrims stop there for coffee or lunch before there climb the mountain.

I had a bowl of soup right away while we waited to have our beds assigned. It was mixed sun and cloud but quite chilly out, especially after we had cooled down and the sweaty clothes started to feel cold and clingy. We were all getting quite cold inside and out.

We were assigned to room 1, with a top and bottom bunk, shared with two women from Victoria (Sam and April), and a couple from Quebec (Dennis and Lise). I had a shower and went to bed because I was absolutely freezing and still feeling crappy. I took 3 immodium and slept off and on all afternoon. Erik spent the afternoon getting to know people up in the main dining room. By dinner time I felt well enough to eat a piece of chicken for supper which was served family style – soup, chicken, veggies, Basque tart, and wine. We sat across from a NZ couple (Lawrence and Rawen), and next to a family from Cali (Steve, Cathy, Storm, and Rowen).  After dinner, we each stood and introduced ourselves. Canadians were the biggest group interestingly enough!

We were in bed by 9 and asleep by 10 and thankfully the heat had finally been turned on. I had the top bunk which is a pain to get in and out of but since I don’t get up to pee at night, I drew the short straw. We were lucky that no one in our room snored so Erik and I both had a fairly decent sleep.

Here are a pictures from the day.

Leaving St Jean Pied de Port
On the way up
Gorgeous countryside
Rest break
Arriving in Orisson
Communal dinner
Orisson sundeck


One thought on “Day 1: April 25, 2016 – Orisson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s