Backpacking,  Camino del Norte,  Camping,  Hiking in Europe

Start of the Camino de Santiago and Getting to the Starting Point | From Pyrenees to Bayonne, France

We are starting the sacred way of Camino de Santiago! We chose to walk the Northern Way or Camino del Norte just because we have never been at the oceancoast and wanted to really feel how it’s like to be close to ocean. And secondly, this way is known to be less saturated but yet very beautiful alternative to the most popular French Way and we want to show you what it’s got and whether it is worth walking. The official distance it covers is 856 kms starting from Irun, but we started our hike at the French city Bayonne, so for us it would be 35 km or so more. We were not sure how long it would take us exactly to get to Santiago de Compostela but we were fine doing it in 40 days or so, cause we didn’t plan to do more than 20-25 km a day. And as usual we planned stay in the campings or doing wild camping during all hike. We hope it’s going to be an interesting and fullfilling experience for all of us and we all will learn and explore something new. So let’s get into it! Get ready for the exciting trail!

It was the first day getting to our starting point. Our Camino started with the really long bus adventure when we had to change 3 bus lines in one day and spent 9 hours in the bus in total.

The morning started us being late to the bus and trying to desperately hitchhike but nobody was stopping and it was an early morning that also wasn’t in our favor. But finally one kind guy picked us up and saved all the Camino.

First bus that we took was from the region where we live in from the small village of Saillagouse to the village of Mont-Louis. But we don’t even count it because it’s just 20 min ride. The next bus was taking us to Perpignan where we had to take another to Toulouse. These 2 buses we survived well not to say we were sleeping almost all the time. But the last final bus was the worst experience it was the longest and we were already very exhausted. In addition to all of that there was a nasty smell of the toilet all the way through (probably because it was going from very far Bucarest in Romania) and the stiffness inside. We were feeling like in a jail not being able to get out and having to sit for 4 hours straight. We felt a great respect for the driver though for being such a strong guy as you couldn’t tell that he’s been on the road for so long.

But finally we were out of the bus near the Biarritz airport (we asked to stop the driver there cause we realized that in Bayonne there are no campings) and we were heading to the nearest camping.

It was already quite late around 22pm and when we got there it was nobody there and we just got inside. And when we already set up a tent and took a shower the security guy appeared out of nowhere and started to claim that we are violating the rules and must leave the camping and he might call the police. We couldn’t get it exactly why he was so mean to us cause we had lots of experience coming to the camping late and paying in the morning when reception is working. But here he sweared that without reservation it’s impossible and he couldn’t let us stay. We were shocked and killed by it, had to wrap everything up really quick cause he was staying with us and accompanied us to the very exit of the camping.

And that was so far the worst experience we had in the camping. Then we realized that there was some our fault in it that we didn’t plan it properly and didn’t make enough research of the places and do the reservation in advance. Now we learnt the lesson.

So here we are in the middle of the night searching for some shelter absolutely tired and very hungry almost starving decided to walk to the city of Biarritz. And at that time it met us with lots of partying and drunk people and we were starting to worry about some people inadequacy and even robbery. So the impression it made to us wasn’t the best and all we had to do was to get out of this city and still we were hoping to find some open camping. Because the prices per night in hotels and guest houses prices were way too high, starting from 100 euros. And overall this area is quite popular holiday destination and thus everything is overpriced.

Finally at 4 am we managed to find the open camping, now worrying about rule violations but we were exhausted to such extent that nothing could stop us from falling asleep right away.

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