GR11 Day 1 – Thursday May 26th 2016
Hendaye train station to Collado de Erlaitz
The trickiest part of the whole trip was actually getting to Hendaye from La Buisson de Cadouin in South West France. We had our train tickets that took us from La Buisson to Bordeaux, and after a short wait, from Bordeaux to Hendaye… EASY!!
YES!! of course the French railway were on strike!!.. but I did get a very nice email from the SNCF [ French railway network ] telling me not to worry about the strike ‘cos the train from Bordeaux to Hendaye was running as normal!!… WTF!! – A lot of good that was, I couldn’t get to Bordeaux ‘cos that train was not running at all, but the SNCF didn’t mention that in their email!!
As luck had it, there was a train running from Perigueux to Bordeaux,… at 5:30am!! so we had someone drive us an hour to Perigueux to get that train. After a 9 hour wait in Bordeaux, 16 cups of very expensive coffee, we finally arrived in Hendaye at 16.30pm.. already knackered!
And we are off!
We were both pretty excited to finally get started, so excited we just walked straight into Irun, following the river, completely forgetting to read the map, or even to look for markings. After about 30 min. it started to rain!, by this time we were just under the viaduct, at the first proper sign to the GR11.
Bummed we had to put on our rain gear on the first day, we continued up the [very] tarmac road.
Keeping to the trail was no problem, and after about 4 hours, we arrived at our planned camping spot at Collado de Erlaitz in thick fog..
We found a decent spot among the fur trees and luckily for us we got a short break from the rain, just enough time to put up the tent.