Yes, it was indeed a hard day: 30-odd kilometres over two small passes. I didn't find any shops open so having felt like I was carrying a tonne of food, I'd chomped my way through most of it by the end of the day - fruit and almond croissants mainly. I'm not sure what you think of that as a diet, but rest assured it worked for me.
To be honest there's not a lot else to report from the walking today. It was hot and there were two small 400m passes to climb - a good warm-up for tomorrow, when I cross the Pyrenees. The ankle / lower shin are is feeling a little better from all the ibuprofen I've been massaging into it - fingers crossed on that front.
And so the arrival at St. Jean Pied-de-Port. It felt like a mini-achievement in itself. The final hill pass overlooked the town (albeit from 10km out) so it felt like I was on the home straight, although I was feeling rather zonked.
The final entrance to St. Jean Pied-de-Port is through a small fortified archway, as the pilgrim's part of the town is in the old citadel. After six days of walking it was weird having conversations in English, as well as having other people geared up to go walking. It's more touristy too - a couple of Irish boys passed me saying they were planning on sleeping in hammocks and were looking for some grass. I told them that I'd passed a lovely bit of lawn, only to be told it was the wrong sort of grass...
On reflection Lourdes was definitely the right place to start. It has been a tough six days, with lots of mud, and it has been pretty solitary, but arriving into St. Jean Pied-de-Port made the whole shebang worthwhile. Onwards to Spain!