I wake early again, not planned but it’s 5.45am. I’m glad I wake now as at 6am everyone is woken to some kind of gregorian chanting.
6.15am and I make my way out of the monastery at Roncesvalles. It’s still dark and I’m guessing it will be for at least another hour. The sky is clear but I can see the fog building around me.
I can’t really describe Spain yet as I’m walking on tree lined footpaths and everytime I enter a clearing the fog has already consumed it. The cows are the same, the cuckoos, magpies and kites too. The flowers and trees all look similar also.
After yesterday’s hike over the mountains I’m disappointed today I have to climb again. By about 8.30-9am the sun is out and the fog is clearing, I see I’m still fairly high up in the hills. My path leads me up & down through forests and along ridges.
The one thing I’ve noticed this morning is, for some pilgrims it’s like a race. Within half an hour of setting off, I had two older gentlemen rush past me, and I mean fast. If I was walking at a casual 4km/h, they must have been doing 6km/h. After that I came across what will most definitely annoy the crap out of me for the rest of my walk….cyclist! I’m walking on a real rough gravel path or down a tricky slope and all you hear is some screaming from behind, or sometimes not even that but just brakes shrieking…followed by four or five people on bikes race past you. I consider the consequences of hoping one of the more brash ones has an accident?! Meh… It’s only wishful thinking, it’s not as if I’m causing it myself…! (I must add I’m more annoyed than usual merely because at one point I had headphones in when said cyclists came past and they made me jump)!
By 11.30am I had arrived at Zubiri, a town larger than I imagined. I was contemplating staying here as it would give me a reasonable 22km to walk tomorrow to Pamplona. Arriving so early I stopped for a quick drink, before heading on. Zubiri is known for it’s bridge which supposedly had healing properties for animals with rabies, they had to cross it three times. I walked across it twice so hopefully I’ll be ok, at least till the end of my trip.
The next village Larrasoaña was my target.
As I left Zubiri I passed a massive industrial zone, which is why the town looks bigger than it actually is. Over the next hour and a half the path carried on undulating between fields and through the tree line. I emerged opposite the church in Larrasoaña. I’m pointed in the direction of the pilgrims refugio, I’m the third person here, it’s 1.15pm and the place doesn’t open until 3pm. By the time the place opens there must be about thirty of us outside. There seems to be an etiquette though, no one pushes in, we queue in the order we arrived. It’s like going to see the headmaster (not that I’d know), one at a time we are allowed in, we put our bags and shoes down and enter the office with our credentials. He confirms we are genuine pilgrims, gives us a ticket, and stamps our passport. It’s 6€ for the night! Being one of the first, I pick a low bunk and rush to have a shower. (Oh, whilst waiting for the place to open I washed my socks and towel in the water fountain outside, it’s almost dry).
I have just walked from one end of the village to the other, it’s a one bar village. I’ve decided to have another day off in Pamplona. I need new magnum boots and I deserve a day off (my last was Figeac). I ring Airmiles and discover they have one hotel in the city centre. I book it, no money, just airmiles. It will be my last day off until Santiago de Compostela (all being well)?!
Well it’s now 5pm. I’m having a quick beer and then getting some food.