The Comete Trail Reports

  1. Tenth Anniversary Trail 2002 by Elizabeth Harrison
  2. Comete Trail Report 2005 by Roddy Langley
  3. Comete Trail Report 2006 by Phil Douglas
  4. Comete Trail Report 2014 by John Clinch
  5. Comete Trail Report 2015 – by John Clinch

Tenth Anniversary of all Home Run Challenges
The Comete Memorial Trail – 1992 – 2002
September 2002

By

Elizabeth Harrison

In a number of books about the Comete Escape Line you may have noticed the faded photograph of Francia Usandizaga, the Basque widow and mother of three young children, and of her isolated farmhouse near Urrugne, in the Pyrenees close to the border with Spain. Bidebengerrin-Francias-Safe-House[1]It was here, on 15 January 1943, that Dédée De Jongh, Francia and her Basque farmhand, together with three RAF evaders, Stan Hope, George Ross and Bill Greaves, were arrested by the Nazis. The airmen ended their war in German Prisoner of War camps but the three civilians were deported to concentration camps – only Dédée De Jongh survived. And there we were on 14 September 2002, in the courtyard of poor, courageous Francia’s house, enjoying a copious lunch laid on by the present owners. Sixty-seven walkers, among them Francia’s daughter Marie, only nine years old when her mother disappeared to Ravensbrück, together with Marie-Christine and Beñat, grandchildren of Kattalin Aguirre, another of the moving spirits of this end of the Comete Line. The oldest of the walkers were Paul Broué, a 79 year-old passeur from Seix near St Girons and his wife Marie, and the youngest just 17. We ‘non-walkers’ were led by Nadine (Andrée Antoine-Dumon, OBE), accompanied by Lulu Dassié, herself a helper and survivor of Ravensbrück, André de la Lindi, son of Belgian agent Paul Henry, and his wife Lydie, and Kattalin Aguirre’s high spirited daughter Fifine, mother of walkers Marie-Christine and Beñat. From Great Britain there were Gordon Mellor, Maurice Collins and his wife Dot. Sixty years earlier almost to the day, Gordon had been hidden on the first floor of this very house whilst Maurice had walked into Spain via Andorra just a few months later. Both veteran RAF evaders from enemy occupied France had crossed these mountains to fight another day. Then there was myself – formerly secretary of the RAF Escaping Society that had been founded at the British Embassy in Paris on 15 September 1945, the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, persevering with its charitable work for 55 years until the end of the last century. Who can guess what thoughts, what memories, were going through everyone’s minds? Warm camaraderie and adrenaline were in parallel flow, the whole atmosphere between walkers and non-walkers, British, French, Belgian, American and Spanish, competing with the perfect weather. We laid wreaths at the graves of Kattalin and of Florentino, the most famous ‘passeur’ of them all: his last surviving brother was there, on his 85th birthday. We met many local veteran helpers, their children and grandchildren; among them were Yvonne Lapeyre (who made an impressive speech at the end of our last meal together) and her husband Robert, both key helpers in the Comete network. Guy Barletta, a Frenchman living in Biarritz, always a great help in the planning of these annual events, had welcomed us at Biarritz airport: he had joined the RAF in 1940 – in Singapore! – a faithful member of the RAF Escaping Society who had been shot down over his own country, evaded capture and escaped into neutral Spain like so many others. The walkers left the cemetery at Ciboure and headed towards Urrugne where we met up again at the town hall for a wreath laying ceremony and where refreshments had been arranged. Then the walkers continued to Francia’s farmhouse at Bidegainberri and more food and drinks appeared. Our next meeting with the walkers was late afternoon at the crossing point of the River Bidassoa. Eight non-walker veterans were crouched on boulders beside the fast flowing river. At about four-thirty the first walkers were seen scrambling down the steep, densely wooded hill towards the river from the French side. Most walkers stood for a moment to take stock of the situation. Boots were removed and in most cases trousers came off too, then espadrilles or the modern equivalent put on to protect the feet from the rocky river bed and, to the cheers of the non-walkers, the crossings began. Amongst the walkers was Scott Goodall, taking his time crossing with a Union Jack tied to his walking stick, held high as he crossed the river, carefully wading waist deep without his stick for support to an explosion of laughter, pride in achievement and delighted applause. After the crossing there was a never ending supply of cider, with local supporters cutting dozens of baguettes and grilling several hundred fat sardines to welcome the walkers after their safe arrival in Spain – there was plenty for everyone. As in WW2, the main obstacle had been crossed and the walkers were now in Spain. Later that evening we returned to St Jean de Luz leaving the walkers in Spain. We met up again late the next day when they arrived at Sarobe Farm, the former first safe-house in Spain for the Comete Line evaders. After a short stop the walkers continued on to Renterria, the Town Hall and then a traditional Basque restaurant for the final celebrations. Walkers and veterans signed the Freedom Trail visitors’ book as the Basque walkers sang their traditional songs for their appreciative guests and toasts and promises were made for the following year True memorials need not be made of bronze or stone. This trail is a ‘living memorial’ to the helpers and their evaders.

Comete Memorial Trail – 24th and 25th September 2005

By Roddy Langley

“Pugna Quin Percutias” (fight without arms), the motto of the Second World War escape line Comete, looks at first glance to be an oxymoron. But there is nothing contradictory about the achievements of the Belgian-run organisation which ensured that over 770 people – some say more – mostly aircrew, were returned to Britain to fight another day. Having been shot down over occupied Europe and evaded capture, the airmen were spirited away and passed down the line by Comete helpers from Brussels, through France and over the Pyrenees into Spain, a distance of nearly 700 miles. British consulates in Bilbao and Madrid then arranged for the airmen to be transported to Gibraltar, where the Royal Navy or RAF ferried them home. My mother, Peggy van Lier, was 24 years old at the Peggy-Van-Lier[1]outbreak of war, and joined Comete when she met Baron Jean Greindl (codename Nemo). He secretly used his job of running a Swedish Red Cross canteen as cover for the Brussels end of the line, and she helped bring airmen into the capital from outlying places before taking them by train to Paris. Comete blossomed – from July to October 1942 they brought out 54 airmen – but its success could not last. Word had reached German air force chief Hermann Goering, who knew only to well the value of returned airmen, and in November 1942, the Luftwaffe police infiltrated Comete and made numerous arrests. My mother was among them, but showing signs of innocence and speaking excellent German, she won over her Luftwaffe Police interrogator and was released. While fiercely independent, Comete had contact with MI9 in London and Nemo informed them that the Luftwaffe police might still suspect Peggy of involvement and that she must flee immediately. Florentino-1024x692[1]MI9 concurred, and with two other Belgians, cousins Georges and Edouard d’Oultremont, she left for Paris, continuing along the same route the airmen took with Comete to St Jean de Luz, a small fishing port in the shadow of the Pyrenees. It was here that Comete had secured the services of a tough Basque smuggler called Florentino Goicoechea, who was to become their most trusted and resourceful Pyrenees guide. (After the war, when he was awarded the King’s Medal for Freedom at Buckingham Palace, King George VI asked him what he did for a living, “I’m in the import-export business”, Florentino replied). Overnight, without any lights or hiking equipment, only espadrilles on their feet, Florentino took my mother and her companions up and down the French side of the Pyrenees, guided them to wade across the freezing cold River Bidassoa into Spain, up another steep climb before descending to a safe farmhouse were they collapsed, exhausted. I had always wanted to retrace my mothers footsteps and research on the internet led me to the website of the ELMS who organise the Comete walk as one of the Second World war ‘Memorial trails’ that they run every year. So with my friend Ian Harrison, and 106 other walkers from seven nationalities, nearly all family members of helpers or escapers, watched over by a handful of RAF veterans who had done the walk for real over 60 years ago, we laid our first wreath at the grave of Florentino (who died in 1980) in a beautiful ceremony overlooking the sea. Then the walk began in earnest, 26 miles over the next two days, led by Basque guides chirping away in their unique language, up and down 1500ft twice, blazing hot weather the first day as we climbed the ‘broad sunlit uplands’, to almost monsoonal the second. A tap on my arm at the first lunch stop organised by our brilliant Basque hosts, an introduction, and I was embracing fellow walker Brigitte d’Oultremont, daughter of Georges, who had accompanied my mother in 1942. We walked the rest of the day together, wondering aloud how our parents would have felt, and crossed the river to be greeted by a white suited RAF veteran on the Spanish side. The delicious barbequed sardines and potent local cider lifted our spirits further. At the end of the two days, everyone gathered for a final celebration lunch in a restaurant in the Spanish town of Renterria. The Basque contingent sang after the meal. Prompting one of our RAF veterans to lead some British singing in a slow, faltering voice: “Daisy, Daisy”, “Bless them all”, and a “Long way to Tipperary”. I am certain if he had sung anything by Vera Lynn, there really wouldn’t have been a dry eye in the house. It was for me, a defining memory to the courage and spirit of Comete. This is what they fought for, without arms. But not without cost. Recorded total Comete losses during the war were 216 people executed, died under torture or in concentration camps. A fairer estimate, perhaps, is that for every successful evader, a Dutch, Belgian, French, or Basque helper gave his or her life. Peggy van Lier reached Gibraltar, and was flown back to England by the RAF. She was met off the plane by the man destined to become her husband and my father, an MI9 officer from Room 900, the small unit responsible for escape and evasion lines in occupied Europe. He was ex-Coldstream Guards officer Jimmy Langley, who had himself escaped from France after being wounded and captured at Dunkirk in 1940.

 

Following the Trail of Comete – [2006]

By

Phil Douglas

As ten year old, Phil Douglas was captivated by the BBC television drama series ‘Secret Army’ about a secret escape line in WW2. Years later he chanced upon some ‘repeats’ which whetted his appetite to find out if there was any truth in the series. On discovering that the series was based upon a real escape line – Comete – Phil began serious research. He started with the book ‘Little Cyclone’ by Airey Neave and then began visiting Brussels to find the locations associated with the Comete Line. In the Koekelberg Basilica he found a wreath, which had been laid by ELMS at the Comete stained glass window in the RAF Chapel. So, Phil joined ELMS and embarked upon his first ‘Comete Trail’! Rather than travel direct to St Jean de Luz, Phil decided to follow in the footsteps of the Comete couriers, starting his journey in Brussels. On Friday the 01 September I spent the day visiting many locations in Brussels including the de Jonghs former home in Ave Emily Verhaeren, the building that housed the Swedish Canteen that became Comet’s headquarters in the Rue Ducale, and Nemo’s grave in Zellick. The next day I left Brussels by train to the Belgian border town of Quievrain. The station is all boarded up now; the train does not now run to Valenciennes, so I caught the bus. On day three, en-route to The-Somme-Canal-at-Corbie-1024x678[1]Corbie, I broke my journey at Arras, and took a day out to remember the sacrifice two of my uncles made during the Great War where they lost their lives, and to learn a little about the conditions they must have endured by making a tour of the local battlefields, which ended with a visit to Thiepval. At Corbie on the River Somme, I stayed overnight, and took a small stroll at night to the south side of the river to the hamlet of Hamelet. I had set myself the mission of trying to find the safe-house where Dede and her evaders rested after the crossing of the River Somme. I knew that it was owned by a lady called Nenette. I did not hold much hope of finding it, but after several enquiries, the house was finally pointed out to me by an elderly lady walking her dog. Although Renee Boulanger (Nenette) died in the eighties, her daughter and granddaughter were still living in the same house. A very pleasant hour was spent talking to Nenette’s daughter, Jean Skibinki about her memories of the evaders that would arrive after nightfall and leave early next morning. The following morning I walked as Nenette’s evaders would have done from Hamelet to the railway station at Villers Bretonneux, before catching the train to Amiens, and on to Paris Gare de Nord. Looking up at the station’s great arched roof, I remembered that it was here that Frederick de Jongh, and his friends Robert and Germaine Ayle were betrayed to the Gestapo while waiting to guide a group of evaders across Paris. I now found a map, and visited Rue Oudinot and Rue de Babylone where Dedee and her father Frederick de Jongh made their Paris headquarters. Next it was the Gare d’Austerlitz, and the overnight train to Irun. For Dedee, this must have been a major worry. Gestapo and plain clothed police were all over the station. As dawn broke, I awoke, and left the train at Bayonne to find the station café in which Operation ‘Water Closet’ was carried out by ‘B’ Johnson and Janine de Greef to avoid having evaders passing through the ticket barrier. Although the station had been renovated, I found the station café, and the Gents, with the side door through which the evaders would emerge to be greeted by Tante Go, who would be sat in a café opposite the station. From here the evaders would now make their way to St Jean de Luz by cycle. I now made my way to the Villa Chagrin, the prison in which Dedee was first kept after being arrested in Urrugne. Arriving in St Jean de Luz on Wednesday, I explored this delightful fishing town, but could not wait to meet up with other ELMS members and start the final journey over the Pyrenees. ************************************** On the Thursday I spent time chatting with ‘helper’ Andre Dumont (Nadine), at breakfast in the hotel. Other members arrived during the day, and a pleasant evening was spent in one of the many roadside restaurants enjoying a wonderful meal and a few drinks with members. Friday was official receptions, starting at St Jean de Luz War Memorial, which was followed by a reception at the Marie hosted by the Mayor. Although made very welcome at the Marie, I thought it ironic that the reception was held above the very cell that Andree de Jongh had spent her first night in captivity after being arrested in Urrugne. The Marie being above the Police Station. During the afternoon we were driven to Bayonne and Anglet, and the former home and safe-house of the de Greef family, before attending a wreath laying at the Anglet War Memorial with Resistance members, followed by another wonderful reception. Early evening and we were on the move again to Urrugne, and another splendid meal organised by our Basque friends. I now felt I would not need to eat for a week. Saturday started with Sarobe-Farm[1]the laying of wreaths on the graves of Kattalin and Florentino at Ciboure, after which our memorial walk began. I had been warned over the previous couple of days that I may find the trek difficult, but to be honest, until we reached Francia’s farmhouse at Bidegainberri, I found it rather easy. I now looked up at the mountains around us and realised that they were our goal. From here the real walk began. Until now I had kept up a good pace, but soon, the frequent breaks I took to get my breath landed me amongst the stragglers. The weather did not help. A blazing sun and temperatures in the thirties sapped my will to continue, together with my distinct lack of training made every step an agonizing chore. I now questioned the wisdom of embarking on such a trek, I continued, eventually hearing the sound of the River Bidassoa, and after wading through icy cold water, reached Spain and the welcoming smiles of our veterans and helpers, and bottles of water. On Sunday I awoke feeling fresh and full of energy, but within ten minutes of starting our second days trek, all up hill, tiredness had returned, and I was again gasping for breath. I did not think anything would be as hard as the trek on the Saturday, but if anything Sunday was worse. A heartfelt thanks must go to our Basque guides who kept me going to the farmhouse at Sarobe, with the infamous ‘just 200m more’. The journey from Brussels to St Jean de Luz was a great experience. To visit the safe-houses and locations of Comete brought Comete alive. To re-trace the steps evaders took between St Jean de Luz and Sarobe farm, although difficult, and at times painful, was an honour and a privilege. Fellow walkers like myself undertook this trek during daylight, in good weather, and over two days. How the evaders, together with Dedee, Franco, and Florentino ever completed the entire journey in one go, in darkness, and in all weathers will never fail to impress me. The warmth and loyalty of our hosts, and the friendships made with everyone from ELMS combined to make this one of my most enjoyable holidays to date. But my overriding memory will be the quality time I was able to spend listening to the stories of the veterans and Andree Dumont.

 

Comet Pays Basque Walk 2014

by

John Clinch

Annually since the year since 2000, on the second weekend in September, Les Amis des Reseau Comete association have organised a commemorative walk along a route taken by the Comet Line. For 2012 the walk took the Larressore-Espelette-Dantxaria route starting at Sutar near Anglet for the first time and it was decided that a version of this route would continue to be taken every other year so in 2014 this was again the route of the walk.

 Friday.
As usual the weekend’s events started in St Jean de Luz with a wreath laying ceremony at the town’s war memorial followed by a “vin d’honneur” in the Mayor’s parlour.   Later in the afternoon the group attended the graves of Kattalin Aguirre and Florentino Goïcochea in Ciboure and the grave of Edouard and Cyprienne Dassie in Saint Leon Cemetery Bayonne. They then continued to Anglet and met up outside the Villa Voisin (the Degreef’s House) and then to the Anglet War Memorial for a ceremony followed by another ceremony at the Comet plaque and another vin d’honneur.  The evening was rounded off with a meal at the restaurant Izarlilia in Anglet-Montbrun.

Saturday.
The next morning a bus took the walkers to the start of the hike at the village school of Sutar where a plaque commemorates Comet helpers Marie and Pierre Elhorga. The walk then started, stopping first at what was  Martha Mendiara’s “Auberge Larre” where the present day owner kindly allowed them into the cellar where the evaders were hidden. Continuing through countryside they reached the cycle path along the river Neve until they reached the Point du Diable (Devil’s Bridge) where the group stopped for a picnic lunch and a walk up to the safe house at Mandochineko Borda. A bus than took them on  to Espelette for a buffet meal and a ceremony at the Espelette War Memorial and a vin d’honneur with the Mayor. During the ceremony there was a performance of a song in honour of the Comet Line  “Petit Cyclone” written by Dominique Aguerre and Michel Suhubiette

“Lethal lightening struck our land

Relentless thunder deafened our lives

An eagle of doom gripped in its claws

The winds of freedom he had enslaved”.

Sunday.
The bus collected the walkers from St Jean de Luz at 7.30am and took them back to Espelette to continue the walk towards the Spanish border. The walking was now in the foothills of the Pyrenees so was  much harder.  On reaching the border the the walkers descended to the safe-house at Jauriko Borda. Impossible to reach except on foot it was a hard climb back up the mountain for the tired walkers.

Once back at the border the walkers were offered a welcome lift in a sheep trailer towed by a tractor driven by the farmer’s young daughter. A sudden shower cooled them down as they arrived at the Restaurant-Venta at Letzateko-Borda for the usual final meal of the weekend, the awarding of the honorary Comet Boinas (big black berets) to Juan Carlos and Marie-Christine and the usual beautiful Basque singing.

 

Commemorative Comete Weekend in the Pays Basque.

11th – 13th September 2015

 by John Clinch

 I set off for my eleventh Comete weekend in the Pays Basque on Thursday 10th September. I’d decided to travel by train as I had rather a lot of luggage, including my walking clothes and boots, my blazer, beret etc (as I was to carry the Comete standard at the ceremonies), two ELMS wreaths and six Comete wreaths. Luckily, being able to start the Eurostar part of the journey from Ebbsfleet International makes it much easier; my wife Jean dropped me off a few yards from the station and the security arrangements and passport control are all close together and there seemed to be very few other passengers boarding there.  It’s a very easy and relaxing start to any trip to Europe even if you have a lot of luggage.

I had been worried that Eurostar would have a repeat of the problems they’ve had over recent weeks but on both my outward and return journey everything ran on time.  Reaching Paris I’d only allowed 75 minutes to get to the Gare Montparnasse but by buying my Metro tickets in the Eurostar buffet car I’d saved a considerable amount of time queueing at the ticket machines and arrived in good time for the TGV.  My train went direct to Bordeaux, with no stops and then at a slower pace via Dax, Bayonne, Biarritz and we arrived in St Jean de Luz/Ciboure five and a half hours after leaving Paris. The train then goes on to Hendaye and terminates at Irun in Spain.

Reaching St Jean de Luz (StJdL) it was a short walk across the road to the Hotel de Paris where I was staying.  This is an ideal hotel and a few of the other ELMS members on the walk were also there.  You can almost  fall out of bed and into the Les Amis bus waiting in the street below!

On Friday, we all met up at 10.30 by the St Jean de Luz War Memorial. The Les Amis des Comete committee led by M.Jean Dassie, the Mayor of SJdL, Brigitte d’Oultremont with the Comete Line Remembrance members from Belgium and some local people. I stood by the memorial with the Comete standard and told Victor with his Spanish Civil War Republican flag to stand on the left hand side while three wreaths were laid, including an ELMS wreath by Marie Knox, daughter of an escape line evader. We then walked to the Mayor’s parlour for his usual speech which was answered by M. Dassie and a “Vin d’honneur” refreshments.

This year the arrangements were slightly different, so instead of having some free time for lunch and a stroll round town or even a swim in the sea we boarded a bus for the Auberge Larre in Sutar near Bayonne. This was for a ceremony and brunch offered by Madame Christine Saldias, the daughter of Martha Mendiara who sheltered many evaders taking the Larressore Comete route later in the war.   A plaque was unveiled by the local mayor and Madame Saldias was presented with the Les Amis honorary “Boina”  the big black Basque beret. The next day Joe Linehan gave me a copy of a local Basque newspaper with a photo of Madame Saldias being presented with the beret with mein the background!  My wife says I look much better in the photograph than I do in real life. We were rather  a long time at the Auberge Larre, the sun was hot and the facilities non-existent but we survived this first test.

We then moved on to the Saint Leon Cemetery in Bayonne and the graves of M. Dassie’s parents, Comete Line helpers Edouard and Cyprienne. It had been a difficult few months recently for M. Dassie so we were pleased to be with him as we honoured his parents.  The group then moved on to the Villa Voisin at Anglet, the HQ of Comete South and home of the De Greef family during those momentous war years.  This will be the last time we will see the house as it is due to be demolished and replaced with an apartment block.  As it was empty we were able to enter the house for the first time on a Comete weekend and I suppose it wasn’t very much changed from when the De Greef’s and B Johnson lived there. Another speech and more Comete Standard carrying at the front door and then on to the nearby Anglet War Memorial for the usual big ceremony.  Comete 2015 4The Comete Standard takes pride of place here so I’m lucky to have an experienced ex-Royal Marine carrying the British Legion S.W. France standard by my side and I just copy what he does. It was my third time carrying the standard here so I am getting the hang of it. We then marched over to the town hall and more speeches by the Comete plaque and another “Vin d’honneur”.  All in all  it had been a long hot day, if I carry the standard next year, perhaps I’ll wear a suitable white shirt and no blazer like most of the French standard bearers.  In a late change to the arrangements we then had a short walk to the Theatre Quintaou in Anglet where we had dinner in the foyer cafe of this very modern building. I know some of the locals were perhaps unhappy with the choice of this non-traditional eating place but I think the ELMS members and others were quite happy with the good service, nice food and a few glasses of wine. Then the bus back to StJdL and bed.

Saturday, walking gear on, back in the bus to the cemetery at Socoa-Ciboure and a ceremony at the graves of Florentino Goikoetxea and Kattalin Aguirre, the Comete standard now carried by local M. Daniel Ruaud so I am free to do the walk.  We meet up with the relatives of Comete evader Larry Birk, their third visit all the way from Australia.  Breakfast as usual given by the Municipality of Socoa and then we depart for Urrugne along the Avenue Kattalin Aguirre, past the Allee Florentino Goikoetxea, through the Pilota Plaza and on through the countryside to the Urrugne War Memorial where we meet the Les Amis bus and John Morgan lays an ELMS cross and I lay a Comete wreath. We continue past Bidegain Berri farmhouse where Dedee De Jongh, Frantxa Usandizaga, Juan Larburu and the three RAF evaders Hope, Greaves and Ross were arrested in January 1943. Up we go in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Comete 2015 3with a break to eat the food we have brought with us, a drink from our water bottles and we tackle the long hard climb up to the plateau and a reward of Belgian chocolate courtesy of Martine and Bernard.  Then down a rocky path, not too steep, another stop to re-group before the walk down through the woods to the river where this year it is slightly easier because a path has been cut through the trees.  Sandals on, the river is probably the lowest I’ve seen it, just to the bottom of my shorts so easily across and a welcome from the non-walkers and most of the walkers as I’m practically last.  Sardines and cider by the river and then the coach back to StJdL. A decision to be made, will I be able to do the walk tomorrow.

At the river where we had our sardines and cider,  up amongst the trees stands a memorial to Comete leader Count Antoine d’Ursel aka “Jacques Cartier” lost whilst crossing the swollen river on the night of 23rd/24th December 1943. Also lost that night was Comete evader 2nd Lt. James Birch USAAF. Comete 2015 5 Neither man has a known grave and Count d’Ursel’s memorial  is soon to be moved to a safer spot further from the river. Les Amis now want to erect a similar memorial nearby to James Birch and are seeking donations to finance this memorial. See http://cometepaysbasque.blogspot.fr if you wish to donate.

Sunday morning up bright and early and on the bus by 07.30, to return to the Spanish side of the River Bidassoa for the steep climb up the mountain past the border watchtower, with a bit of a scramble as you reach the top with it’s fabulous views of the surrounding mountains. The weather I realise is perfect for the walk, cloudy, no sun, damp low cloud cooling you down as you walk. We continue, up another climb and the view all the way back to the bay at StJdL and to the left Hendaye and then Irun.  We meet the Les Amis bus again with refreshments and snacks and then the final slog to Sarobe Farm.  Comete 2015 2Right at the back again I arrive at Sarobe farm with its welcome from Paco and family, chorizo sausage and tortilla with bread and a glass of homemade cider, I’ve made it and I’m walking no more.  I sneak onto the Les Amis bus to be driven to the Sociedad de Beraun for our lunch, no way am I going to walk all the way into Rentaria as I did two years ago. In fact I find out later, from our Basque friends, that a public bus runs from the bottom of the hill to Rentaria, so never again will I have to do that two hour trudge along the old railway line and through the town.

We eat and drink, M. Dassie is presented with the second honorary boina, Benat and friends sing their beautiful Basque songs, all is right with the world. Then the bus back to France and StJdL.

Many thanks to those that helped me with the wreaths, the standard and the walking.  I came to StJdL thinking that surely this would be the last time I’ll do this but I left thinking of next year and the Comete Larressore walk.

 

 

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