Stage 6, Sep 9, St.Jost Ibarra to St. Jean Pied-de-Port, 22.2 km, total time 6:55 hrs.

I still cannot sleep well. Maybe it is the solitary hostel, or it’s too hot or too cold. A lot of thoughts are free at night, being relieved from the concerns on the road and the aching signals from the body during the day. So a new thought came out clearly. Why insisting in carrying with me things that hurt, instead of letting them go? Likewise I though how times we keep holding on situations and relationships that only hurt us? I took the decision almost immediately: I will leave my boots behind in the hostel for anyone that might need them. They only hurted my feet and caused many blisters. I will continue with only the sneakers that are two numbers bigger and very comfortable. So I left the boots near a serious pilgrim stick that was also left behind by some other pilgrim before me.

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Then I continued packing and was very pleased with the lighter weight and ventured out to the new day. As said, I had to skip one stage that was not planned for originally, so I went to the bus stop not before having bought a croissant and a cafe au lait. Need to admit that breadmaking is a serious business in France no matter where. It is always super delicious.

The bus stopped me in St.Jost Ibarre, from where I could reach St.Jean in just 22km instead of 40. At the bus stop I was pleased to meet a guide that walked along me for the first half hour.

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The “chien”, I could not find a better name for him, has been the happiest creature on earth, and for some time kept me company showing me the way. When he seemed to be reassured that I did not get lost, he barked once and then he turned back fast as the wind till he was out of sight. This encounter put me in a very good mood.

The stage was hard as the previous ones with steep hills to climb and then fast descents into valleys often to pass water streams. My body was responding well and I marched happily whenever there was some flat terrain. Even if it is tougher to climb, I feel much better to walk on crests rather than through midway paths. I enjoy the unobstructed views and make me feel more closer to the natural scenery. So I managed to spot a fox and several hawks over the rounded hills. Unfortunately I was not quick enough to capture them on a photo.

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At last my destination appeared in the distance.

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Along the way there were thorny bushes of delicious blackberries which reminded me of my younger days when with the family we were picking them and carrying home baskets full of fragrance to prepare a yummy jam.

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Still within the last kilometer from St.Jean I could not see any other pilgrim except myself. As soon as I reached the City gate, they all appeared at once, hundreds of them, of all colors and nationality. They all gathered at the information office forming a long line. I was thankful for having placed a reservation a l’Auberge du Pelerin, and went straight to settle in.

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At dinner in the hotel I met Annie, an Irish lady who told me about herself and her motivations. She is a gardener by profession and an Irish music busker for passion. She raises the money for the trip playing the Irish fiddle or the flute along the roads of the main cities, and she would like to find enough strength from this experience to relocate definitely to Spain. A very touching story. So long for the many more personal stories I am eager to learn throughout the way.

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Here are some pictures of this very cozy and quaint village.

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