Camino Diary Entry #7

106 Roncesvalles 950m 26 km walk


(Emails home from the Camino Adventure)
#7. Roncesvalles to Zubiri 21.5 kms / 7 hours

It turned out to be just a 7 hour day – 21.5 kms but far more climbing than we had been led to believe. Two mountains to cross – Mezquiriz and Erro. Weather wise it was yet another scorcher and again we lathered in sunscreen and struggled under the weight of extra water bottles. Fortunately, much of the day was through shaded beech forest.
Less fortunately , we were so enthralled by the beauty of the first small village we came to that we “oohed and aahhed” our way through taking photos until we found ourselves alone, and on a highway.133 Fair to say there were a few tense moments but eventually after narrowly missing being taken out by the passing high speed traffic, we rejoined the pilgrim’s way at the next village.
The foot care is a biggie. A good 20 minutes is spent in morning preparation! What will it be today? Toe socks? Lifesocks? 2 pairs of socks? Vaseline? Tea tree oil? Blister care ‘in case’? A bit of sheep wool wrapped about the hot spots? Whatever the final decision, we are grateful that our feet remain what is termed ‘not broken’ yet. We have seen some hideous and painful blisters fortunately on other Pilgrim’s feet and not ours!
So far there hasn’t been much soul searching going on, just perhaps the odd questioning of our own sanity. The first couple of days have been technically challenging , more about thinking of our feet, our gear, the comfort of packs, dealing with the heat, rehydration and where to get a wine at days end.
We are not feeling smug, just relieved, that we have a courier pick up our 20 kgs of luggage each morning and we can look forward to checking into very comfortable lodgings that include our own bathroom and a breakfast each day. We meet pilgrims who are impressed when they grab a refuge bed – such a nice place, only 10 in the room ….. by the next morning we hear there were snorers , the openers of windows, the closers of windows, the teeth grinders and sleep talkers and it was a little hard to sleep……

Any excuse for salted chocolate

Any excuse for salted chocolate

Our hosteleria in Zubiri was probably the best of a bad lot! When Gwyneth asked for some help to get her huge suitcase up the narrow, dark stairway, the hostel owner grabbed at a single crutch from behind the reception desk, waved it in the air, and assured us he was far less able than ourselves, to get the luggage moved. I swear he kept that crutch there purely to put paid to any exhausted pilgrim thinking he was going to help as I later saw him setting the dining room tables and there was no crutch in sight!
In honour of Gwyneth’s birthday we rounded off our pilgrim dinner with a night cap at the bar before dashing through thunder, lightning and hail back to our quarters.

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