Today I got away to my earliest start yet -7.30am. The first hour and a half were a treat to walk. After leaving the camping ground I was soon into a wooded area that led to a walking path by a river which a few locals were using. But after that all the way into Bayonne it was a test of perseverance along a road that was tedius to walk and spectacularly without interest. At least one local knew it. She pulled up in a van and offered me a lift into the city commenting that it was a particularly boring stretch of road.

In between these two sections I pulled up alongside the river at table and bench seats made from split logs. After eating I got out my Spanish notes and read until I
realised I'd been off the road for nearly two hours. Far too long, even by my standards.

Coming into Bayonne, and when leaving, I saw the remains of what looked like old city walls and fortifications, the most interesting part of which was a moat and drawbridge. When I got to the cathedral I found the doors locked so I sat on the steps, made lunch, and watched the patrons at a restaurant opposite eat their way through their Euros. There were countless people who came to the cathedral expecting it to be open. I sat on the steps for over an hour and got into a
conversation with Rheinhold, a German man who had bicycled from Portugal to Bayonne, via Santiago de Compostela. On the way out of the city I met two pilgrims who had just got off the plane and were walking to Biarritz railway station to get a train to St. Jean Pied de Port to start the Camino Frances. It was the third time for one and the first for the other. I did offer some advice to the young man and that was to walk his own Camino, and not someone else's. If anyone asks me what would be the prime piece of advice to help them with their journey that would be it.

Tonight I'm in a camping ground and feeling rather proud of myself at having spent
only a��38.50 on accommodation since Vincent and I parted at Auch on the 19th June. That's about half the cost of a hotel room for one night. It hasn't been a case of self-denial. There have been opportunities, but importantly there has been an interesting shift in attitude that's resulted in me losing interest in them. I had my first restaurant meal tonight for over a week. It cost me as much as it would for food all day for three days. Such are the economies of camping. I should add that when I get to Irun I do intend to stay in a hotel. My thought is to have two nights there, one in a hotel and the other at the municipal albergue. I need time in town to organise a Spanish internet provider and a new mobile telephone number.

These past three months I've missed the camaraderie that other pilgrims offer. Everyone has a different story to tell. That's part of what makes these walks more interesting. So I'm very much looking forward to getting to Spain and linking up with other pilgrims.

Finally, it was at least 40 degrees today. I just melted along the 27km walk.

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