73km Saint Jean Pied de Port to Peyrehorade
Today visions of our sofa danced in our heads. We had the best chocolate-brown leather couch from John Lewis when we lived in London. On the weekends it was the perfect place to lay down with a duvet and fall into a deep sleep while the TV rattled away in the background. Now, when we feel exhausted on the bikes, we long for just one more long snooze on our sofa. Today our desire to be sitting down quietly – and not pedalling up and down the foothills of Pyrenees – followed a day out with our friends Conny and Mel. They’d been in Spain for a few weeks and were able to cross our path on their way back to London.
It was great fun to see them again but a little too much rosé wine made pushing off again difficult. Lead legs were the theme of the morning. At least the rain, which has poured down over the last two afternoons, stayed away and we made good time cycling first along another stretch of the Santiago trail (the pilgrim count for today stands at 18) and then ducking off into the back roads and the French countryside.
Aside from some pretty little villages the day was fairly unremarkable, although we were surprised to see kiwi fruit being grown along one stretch and banana plants beside a house. Was this France or some tropical rainforest, we wondered? By the time we’d stopped for supper we were exhausted. Luck went our way as we found a place to pitch our tent in some woods not far outside the dreary town of Peyrehorade. It had enough cover and was far away from the road so we were able to put up our tent long before darkness fell, with no worry of being seen by anyone. With light now lasting until past 9pm it makes wild camping a rather late affair and difficult if you are tired and want to go to sleep rather earlier!