I’m in St. Jean Pied-de-Port, the very charming traditional starting point of the Camino, a short distance over the border in France. I left Madrid this morning with my friend Vic, a volleyball coach from British Columbia, on a train that took us to Pamplona, a three-hour ride. The next step was a van ride for about an hour and a half to St. Jean. The ride went through beautiful countryside that consisted of steep-sided valleys covered in grass or woods.
The villages along the way were very pretty and very small, usually just a couple of blocks of stone homes and perhaps a restaurant.
Behind and above the villages were small flocks of grazing sheep on the steep hillsides. Our walking begins tomorrow and will be 27 km long, mostly uphill, probably the most challenging segment.
In the name of peace, my plan is to dedicate sections of the whole 500 miles to groups of people who endured difficult travels to find freedom of just to escape violence or other hardships. The first few days are dedicated to the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan who walked for a month or more through dangerous conditions to escape the horrors of war and genocide. Anything I do the next few days is nothing compared to what they went through and we can’t forget them.