Wednesday 8 July
I stepped off the overnight train from Paris at hendaye gare at 9.30am (20 mins late - not bad) and feeling reasonably rested. You do get some disturbances. . passing through stations, the train honking, people passing down the corridor, conductor banging on door at 5am to announce the new day, etc etc. . but it could have been much worse. I discovered that for a relatively modest sum you can book a 4 berth co
mpartment to yourself, an "espace privatif," and if you've ever spent a night in a small compartment with three drunken Spaniards, well, you would do the same.
The first stage is a difficult one, with a lot of climbing, c1500m in all. Coming fresh to it, I found it hard and when I went past a hunters cabin with a water tap and a nice grassy area, it looked very tempting. I settled down there for an hour or so but then felt better so carried on for another 7 km to my original target, a bar/restaurant at the col de Lizuniaga. It was closed, but a wander around and knock on a door at the back produced a pleasant lady who sold me a beer and showed me where I could camp, so that was good.
Weather was good, warm but not full sun, ideal walking weather.
18.1 miles, so if we assume a total distance of 550 miles that leaves 532 miles to the nearest mile. In future I will just say 18/532
Today's hard work brought the compensation of some very fine views. At one point I could see Hendaye, Biarritz, and a vast sweep of the Atlantic coastline, right along the Landes as far as Bordeaux, with its immense forest and endless beach. Stunning.
Also I met some nice people. . four French girls who sadly are walking the GR10, so I won't see them again, and a young man from Toulouse called Hugo, who like me is walking all of the HRP, so I expect I may see him again.