Day zero : Gatwick to Bayonne

Steve: Proper progress today.

Up at 3:50am in the Holiday Inn Gatwick, a rather soulless place.  Airport hotels, just like airport departure lounges, have a strange quality. They exist in some alternative dimension, just a little removed from the Real World – a few inches over, perhaps. Almost the same, but not quite.

The British Airways desk at Gatwick opened at 5am and, after some more fiddling around with booking numbers, we took to the air at 6:50am -ish and headed for Bordeaux. We all slept the whole way.

From Bordeaux airport to the bus, to the train station, and on to Bayonne on a TGV.  You couldn’t possibly mistake a French train for a British train.  It really is quite a bit more stylish.

Flat countryside and a very nice train

Rumour had it that there was a strike on today but we couldn’t confirm that. All we know is that we had an almost empty carriage for the hour and a bit trip.

We’d hoped to go on St Jean today but apparently that particular line actually was on strike, so we’ve got tickets for early tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow we start the Camino proper and we become ‘peregrinos’ – pilgrims.  With ‘albergues’ for accommodation and ‘pilgrim menus’ for sustenance. To ease the transition, tonight we stay in a hotel and eat pizza by the riverside. Impecuniousness can wait for just one more day.

We are porous with travel fever, as Joni Mitchell sang…

Sacre bleu, c’est France…
The not-so-mean streets of Bayonne

Day zero : stats

Planes, trains and buses and feet

  • Steps: 16,287
  • Distance: 14.7km
  • Distance in the right direction: massive improvement over the past few days. Now we’re a mere -53.7km from the zero point. As my high school French teacher used to say “C’est un cochon formidable!”.  No, we didn’t know why, either.