The Camino began in earnest at the airport in Biarritz when we with backpacks assembled almost naturally. Met an actor and producer from NYC; a mother and daughter from Canada; and some newly retired women. The hospitality practiced at the Beilari Hostel in St Jean Pied de Port would soothe anyone’s weary soul/soles. First pilgrim dinner and amazing connections – a surprise discovery re Simone de Beauvoir – met Irina (from Sweden and Ecuador) and Yuki from Japan as well as a group of French women walking for a week, Lee from Vancouver and Michael from Tazmania. Maria, the hospitalera, did linguistic gymnastics translating French, English and Spanish. Today was a warm up as I traversed the walls of the Citadelle in St Jean and did a final organization of my pack – at only 8.2 kg for 6 weeks, I am already thinking about what I can let go. The ascent of the Pyrenees, Part One, begins in the morning.