Crossing the Pyranees was such an amazing experience! Ryan, myself and about 500 other pilgrims left St Jean Pied de Port as the sun was beginning to rise. The weather had turned from glorious sunshine the day before to dark clouds and torrential downpour. Not exactly how I had envisioned my first day on the Camino but excitement and anticipation sent us happily on our way.
The 1000 foot climb up the Pyranees was filled with spectacular pastoral views, charming farms painted white with roofs and trim in red. The pastures and our pathway brimmed with sheep, cows and horses all wearing large bells that filled the air with a magical song. We also encountered large pigs. They were very large and cute!
The trek up the mountain was fairly difficult with the climb and cold, whipping rain but the sites and company made it very enjoyable. Ryan and I were both in high spirits. Once at the top, we began to make our way down. At first it was not so difficult then the path became very steep and slick. On one side was a steep, downward, wooded slope. As we gingerly made our way down, we saw a man and woman walking along the side of the road near the slope. Somehow, the man lost his footing and fell backwards with his head downhill. His wife started yelling and we quickly went over to them. Ryan grabbed one of his legs and the man yelled, “Let go of me!”. Every time he struggled to get up he would slipped a little more down the hill, a human slip and slide of sorts. I yelled at him to stop moving and Ryan pulled his leg. His wife just stood there shouting “Jesus!” and I don’t think she was praying. Ultimately, we managed to get him back on his feet but he wasn’t so grateful. I’m sure he was just embarrassed and I don’t think he realized how close he was to slipping down the hill. 😳