Saturday, 6 December 2008

France: Hendaye - Pau

The strangely-named Puyoo is a village halfway to Pau, where we had planned to break our journey for a couple of days' car hire. A very long SNCF train pulled out of Hendaye and snaked its way up the coast through St. Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz, exotic places compared to the grime of industrial North-East Spain yesterday.

It wasn't quite as comfortable as with Renfe, but all was going smoothly till we came to a halt here, and out we had to get. Apparently the train in front had been derailed - possibly a result of industrial action aimed at France's TGVs: when we tried to get to the bottom of it our French failed us.

So, we asked the station master for the key to the station loo, and tried to wait patiently for coaches to take us onwards. Amongst the throng was an elderly French woman in pilgrimage gear (i.e. complete with a dangling scallop shell): she had not only walked to Compostela, but also back again as far as the Spanish border. That spurs me on.

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