Day 2: Arrival in St jean Pied De Port.

St Pancras station

St Pancras station and our Eurostar awaits.

After an awful nights sleep in London we woke to the alarm clock at 5am, showered and dressed and headed for St Pancras International station to catch the 0701 Eurostar train to Paris Gare De Nord. I am sold on this mode of transport. For €48.50 single it is the only way to get to Paris. We passed through security and passport control in less than 5 minutes. We were first mind you but there is no hassle at all. After a breakfast of fruit, yoghurt and tea in the station cafe we boarded the train, departed at 0701 precisely and arrived in the Gare De Nord at 10:17 right on time.

GARE DE NORD - 2

A bit of a blurry Debbie in the Gard De Nord.

You can buy the tickets for the Metro on the Eurostar train and its a little cheaper to do so. You also miss the queues at the ticket booths in Paris. Metro line 4 took us directly to Gare Montparnasse 25 minutes later. No changing, easy peasy. Gare Montparnasse is not a pleasant station being reinforced concrete with little sparkle to it. It is a marked change to the magnificent central stations in London.

The TGV on the other hand leaves UK trains looking like museum pieces. It was magnificent. Quiet, smooth and very very fast. It left Paris on time at 12:28, went non stop to Bordeaux and arrived in Bayonne at 19:33, 2 minutes behind schedule for which we received an apology. Incredible.

The local train to St jean however was cancelled due to a landslide blocking the line so we joined around 40 other people with backpacks on a coach ride to the small town lying at the foot of the Pyrenees.

St Jean Pied De Port - 3

St Jean Pied de Port.

A short walk took us to our accommodation for the night at 20 Rue De La Citadelle, Maison E. Bernat built in 1662. It is a lovely little place. Not the cheapest place but just wonderful and not 30 metres from the pilgrims office.

Outside Maison E Bernard in St Jean Pied De Port - 3

Here we had our Pilgrims passport stamped (known as the Credencial) to prove we are now pilgrims on the Way of St James.

Pilgrims Passport

We have had a wander around this most delightful little town steeped in so much history. We had dinner at the local cafe and sample Le Menu Pelegrin, the pilgrims menu. This was a vegetable broth each, chicken and french fries, a crepe and a small carafe of red wine all for €24. Not bad at all. The daily task of washing the drip dry clothing is over, the journals have been updated and its time for a good nights rest.

Mark Dexter 2015