I’ll start by explaining something I got several comments about and that was the short nature of yesterday’s walk. There are many books that outline the route and suggested stages for the camino. Each is slightly different. The one used by many English speaking pilgrims outlines 33 stages. The first stage is considered the hardest of all. 25km with a 1500m climb and a steep decent with very few intermediate facilities. After a 20 hour trip to get here it can be grueling. Orisson (where I stayed) is one of the alternate stops but it is small and usually fills with reservations. So I chose this as my first night (reserving in advance …the last reservation I have). Great decision because it was a beautiful location and the communal meal was very nice.
Also I have gone back and posted some additional pictures from yesterday since I had very poor reception at Orisson.
Last night I slept well until about 1:00 then woke up. It was very hot in the room and after awhile I put on my jacket and went outside. Above I could see the Milky Way very clearly and off in the distance I could see huge thunderclouds with a great lightening show. I went back to bed and was able to get back to sleep. This morning after a light breakfast I set off at 8:00 as the sun came up. Today I was toward the back of the departures.
The road headed up climbing toward the top of the Pyrenees.
Eventually the path headed up a steep trail. I passed sheep, horses and cows along the trail.
Finally I reached the top and started back down. The terrain changed from open countryside to forests. The trail got progressively steeper working a new set of muscles.
Finally I broke out in Roncesvalles my destination for the day. It is an old Monastery that has housed pilgrims for centuries. They have added a new wing in recent years.
This albergue is different from the private ones of the last two nights. This is a community albergue and is very large. There are 3 floors with 70 bunks each. So there are lots of new faces and lots of people. It is actually nice with cubicles of 4 beds each. I’m on top bunk tonight, so far my dismount has not been pretty.
Tonight I went looking for a glass of wine and came upon a mother/ daughter from BC Canada. I invited myself to have a seat (the mother was a hoot….loud, funny and a great story teller. They had been at Orrison and slowly a group of others joined. They were all going to the Pilgrims dinner (dinner/ breakfast isn’t included at community albergue) at the place we were at so I joined up. It started with so, so pasta (containing a some good chorizo sausage), followed by a very good whole trout and fries, with yogurt for desert and of course wine. I talked to a really cool retired teacher from Oregon. She had just retired 1 year ago. She immediately came to Europe for the first time and has been traveling ever since. She was 67 and was really fascinating. Afterward I went “home” to make my bed and organize my stuff before people started going to bed (it was 8:15). Sure enough while I was there the Irish couple that were across from me came back and went to bed (I anticipate they’ll be early risers). I’ve now at one of the two bars for one more glass of wine and to finish writing. So far my shoes are great. (No blisters), the pack feels good (though I could feel its weight in my knees going downhill) and I haven’t lost anything (I don’t think). I’m off tomorrow with no specific plans.
Elevation change 600m up/600 m down