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POSTCARD FROM FRANCE #8
June 16 - Saint Jean de Luz - Rain again this summer
at Plum Village, thunderstorm sent everyone indoors. Last year a strike hit the Tea House, split a rafter, shocking a patron. Friend Carlos - psychologist & practicing Buddhist working in HIV
support in San Juan, Puerto Rico - was walking part of the Camino de Santiago so I used that as an excuse to drive us both to St Jean Pied-de-Port.
bridge, River Nive, StJPdP
ready to go, in StJpdP
Carlos trekked towards Santiago de Compostela. After 3 days in StJPdP, I shopped the local market, drove same route to Pamplona.
these faces in Eugene
growing healthy food
you think, father/daughter?
Rte 933 to the top was twisty &
steep, like McKenzie Pass except it’s a main highway with big trucks coming at you and Pilgrims beside the road. At the top, a monument to Roland, St James and a church. Cows & sheep grazing the
Basque summer pastures.
above the Porte d’Espagne
to Roland 778
first refuge along the way.
came from, StJPdP way below
stella at the summit
you’re going, Pamplona way beyond
maintain ancient pasture customs
appeared ~3000 b.c. in such pastures
options from here, follow the shell
The first leg is the steepest of the
hike, winding & narrow. At Roncesvalles monastery I stopped for a tribute drink to my dear friend Demetra who started her walk from here. The Song of Roland is from a famous battle here in 778.
The French version has betrayal and the Moors doing in Roland’s men, martyring him. The Basque version is Charlemagne was run out of Pamplona by the Moors and the Basques jumped on Roland’s rear
guard as they retreated over this steep, narrow pass. 200 years in monk’s hands embellished it.
About 100 yr later, a peasant reported a
column of light rising out of a field in NW Spain, revealing where St James’ bones were said to be buried, thus beginning the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: atonement for sinners and the
expense of so much shoe leather ever since.
A bunch to
some beautiful churches
My Pamplona visit was brief, continued on
to the Cote de Basque and the ancient fishing village St John de Luz. It stormed like crazy for one day then cleared for a day, then rained again. Summer is supposed to be starting… a lot of wet
St.Jean de Luz
Cathedral in Bayonne
Covered the Basque Museum in Bayonne,
found good books in a large Basque publisher/bookstore nearby, too heavy to carry. Headed back to see a house near Plum Village.