Bayonne to Cambo-les-Bains (25 km)
Wednesday-Thursday, 28-29 September, 2016
In former times, those who landed in the port of Bayonne to travel on to Pamplona or further, would go by the Baztan valley across the Atlantic Pyrenees. It was also the oldest path to Pamplona and on to Santiago de Compostella, pre-dating that of the Camino Francés from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
So it was on a perfect early autumn day I set off from Bayonne, following the path along the banks of the River Nive. I saw very few people; an occasional runner, cyclist or a local, walking their dog. It was extremely peaceful; only the sound of birds or the buzzing of a bee.
But after 15 km the peaceful walk ended at Ustaritz with the constant roar of trucks and cars hurtling through the narrow streets of the town. I felt sure that there must have been a path or quiet road to Cambo-les-Bains, but according to the locals who I quizzed, the answer was a shrug of indifference.
So with no better alternative, I set off to walk the remaining 8 km to Cambo, along a noisy and heavily traveled road.
But eventually I arrived in Cambo, a delightful little town, and I put my ‘not-so-pleasant’ experience of French traffic behind me.
And the hotel was perfect. The owner, Laurent Rodriguez, his wife and beautiful daughter, made my stay most pleasant and nothing was too much trouble for them. I forgot to ask Laurent if he had played rugby, for he was built like a prop forward, with huge shoulders, massive arms and a neck like a tree trunk.
He was not someone that I would have relished having to tackle.