Last night we stayed in the fabulous Roncesvalles monastery albergue. This place must house 300 pilgrims…maybe more like 400. They have a laundry room where for 2.70 euros they do all your washing and deliver it still warm to your bed. There is a huge catering style kitchen and a bank of self service machines with ready meals and snacks and drinks. There is a rather plush wifi room but sadly wifi yesterday was on the blink. And you have little cubicles of 2 or 4 with very comfy beds and super bathrooms. It is a 5 star albergue!
They send you to sleep with piped music and wake you at 6.00 with monks chanting…The only fault for me was I had the emergency exit light right in my eye-line and it kept me awake so sadly again I had a restless night.
At 6.00pm yesterday we went to mass… A first for me but it was lovely. They read out all the nationalities of the pilgrims who have arrived that day and I felt rather proud of the Grand Britannia. Judy, the Texan we’d met at Orisson, was asked to read the English version of the reading and a French chappie was asked to do the same in French. They were both very very good!
At the end of the service, the monks invited everyone to the front and we all gathered together for a pilgrim blessing. The monks asked us to pray for them in Santiago and not for the first did I feel a pang of sadness that I wouldn’t be going. I have to say that there were also several smelly pilgrims in that huddle but overall it was really moving and a wonderful start to the camino.
Just before dinner we stopped off in the bar and I met Noel and Tony. Noel is the Irishman in the photo sliding down the snow on his bum at the top of the mountain! Tony is dutch and I’d met him last night at Orisson. These two were going to be often found in the bar over the coming days!
At dinner we were with 4 French men who were just finishing the le puy camino and 3 Dutch men walking together from St Jean. There was another Dutch man who was cycling and a Spanish father and daughter walking together. I spotted poor Hogni eating alone at a table on the other side of the room… I waved and we raised glasses and I felt sorry for him all alone. Although he told me later that Tony joined him so he wasn’t alone for long.
Another night of not great sleep and we were queuing for breakfast at 7.00 am. Maggie sends her pack ahead so we had to make arrangements but we were on the trail by 7.30. So much is familiar to me but also so much was forgotten too. I keep having to remind myself to shut up about last time, I’m sure it’s very boring for anyone else. So I just think to myself. .. last time I sat there and rested on that rock… or had a coffee in this bar… and so on! I also keep thinking I’ve seen folks from the last camino… its all very odd.
The other thing that is very different are the spring flowers. There are so many wild flowers. .. so much colour. The photos simply don’t do justice to the carpets of flowers…and everywhere is so green and bright and fresh. I am so envious of everyone walking on. The mesata will be a riot of colour and I wish I was joining them.
Today was long and hot on tired legs and we were late getting to Zubiri. We were greeted by a dutch couple who told us there were no rooms, but another group of 9 Irish girls told me there was a new albergue at the other end of town and they had a couple beds left. I wasn’t planning on walking on another 5km today so I left Maggie to find her pack and I dashed across town and bagged the last 2 beds in town. Top bunk for me but it’s a great little place and the folks can’t do enough for us.
So…I’m here and showered and fed and settled down with a nice cup of tea waiting for my phone to charge before I tackle my top bunk and rest for whatever rigours tomorrow will bring. Buen camino everyone… I hope your day was beautiful too.