Monday, May 14, 2018, 30℉ – 40℉ … Roncesvalles to Zubiri … 23 kms … 15 miles
Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you discover that the “camino” opens your eyes to what is not seen. ~ Beatitudes of the pilgrim
Let me start by saying, sleeping in a hostel nook with 9 other people is quite an adventure. Thankfully, I was so tired from yesterday’s walk I fell fast asleep easily, but staying asleep was another story.
At first, lying in bed was quite uncomfortable. Not the bed, but the sleeping in close quarters with strangers, most of them being men. One nice thing was the two men sleeping across from me were the two Floridians we had met in the Pizza restaurant in St. Jean, Tim and Rodney. This gave me some comfort but it was still awkward. Do I sleep facing the wall or do I sleep facing them? Not sure, but facing the wall seemed more comfortable.
I was able to drift off. It was chilly. No, it was cold! I had my light sleeping bag liner and I was pretty much sleeping in layers but still couldn’t get warm. I was trying everything. Covering my head, curling in the fetal position but nothing was helping. I was cold.
As I was tossing and turning, two men walked into our bunk area and you could tell they were intoxicated. They started talking to Tim and Rodney. Not sure what was going on, I rolled over. As I made eye contact with one of them, he said, “Oh I am so sorry!” And as he kept talking, he walked towards me, “I didn’t mean to wake you. I am so sorry!” I thought he was going to fall on me. All I could do was laugh and say, no worries. I then rolled over and that was my nighttime meeting with Tomce and Daniel from Australia.
Finally, I started to fall into a deep sleep, which is exactly what I needed. I actually think all of the engagement had helped me feel more comfortable. I was still freezing but at least I was sleeping. A few hours in and I woke to my big toe being numb!
What? Why is my toe numb? Too tired to worry about it, I moved it around and was able to fall back into a deep slumber.
Day 2 begins …
After having such a long day yesterday, we decided to head out a little earlier today.
When our alarm clocks went off, I was actually excited. Excited partly because I wanted to get out of this cold dungeon. No WIFI at this hostel, but we had heard the bad news from other pilgrims. Rain! It was raining again and it was going to stay in the 30’s and 40’s. Ugh, the worst, a cold rain. Oh well, what are you going to do!
We got ourselves together and started our walk for the day. No breakfast at the hostel due to us wanting to get on the road, so we just drank some water and hit the trail. We figured we could stop at the first café and get something to eat. It was only 3 kms (1.8miles) out. Not a problem.
One lesson along the Camino is living in the moment. There really is nothing else that you need to think about. Just look at the road ahead, and go. Step by Step. So even with the rain, you are thankful to be able to do this journey. The rain will pass just like any burden in life. All you can do is keep going! You get yourself ready and you take that first step. It’s that simple. We humans tend to make things so difficult. To overthink. Why do we get in the way?
Ultreia! Is another phrase you will hear along the Camino. Its Latin,
Keep going or go beyond is the translation. To this day, I remember that and remind myself of this little lesson.
Hitting the trail …
As we looked at the map, the day looked pretty easy. A little shorter than yesterday and mostly flat with some hills.
The first thing you see when you leave Roncesvalles is the famous sign showing the distance to Santiago! Only 790kms to go! We got this.
The path today was beautiful, even in the rain. Instead of mountains, today we had lush forests. I felt like we were in Lord of the Rings; the greenery was that beautiful.
The rain continued to fall and we continued to walk. I was getting a little hungry and just hoping Burguete would be around the next corner.
We finally made it there but to our disappointment, due to us leaving early, no café was open. Thankfully, we did find a grocery store, and slipped inside to buy some food. After making our purchase, we made our way outside and tried to find some shelter so we could eat our breakfast. We ended up running into, Tim and Rodney and chatted for a while.
As we left the store, I reminded Cale that I wanted to make sure to see the house where Ernest Hemingway had stayed. It was in this town.
In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, the main character Jake and his buddy Bill go fishing in Burguete and stay at a quaint inn there. Which is exactly the same place Hemingway stayed in real life. The place where he lodged is still in operation. Inside you can even see the same piano where the legendary author carved his signature back in 1923.
We found the Inn and were hoping to go inside but knew we would be unable to take the time. With the rain, we realized it was important to keep going. So just a quick picture had to do.
We continued through some farmland and up and down some crazy hills. Even though we climbed all day yesterday, and these hills were shorter, they were steeper. It was crazy, I remember saying to Cale, “how can I be out of breath after yesterday?” He answered, “Mom, you will always be out of breath climbing a hill. What is important is your recovery time.” Oh, that makes sense…and glad to say my recovery time was good!
On this walk, we made it to another important point for me…a stone tablet which read, “Here you can pray a Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) to Our Lady of Roncesvalles”. And so, I prayed…
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
We continued down a treacherous hill. This was the descent into our resting place in Zubiri. It is one of the most dangerous on the French Way. It was even more difficult today due to it being wet and very slippery.
Every year, a number of pilgrims are forced to abandon their adventure shortly after beginning. Sprains, strains, bumps…ramps that are more like cliffs and stones of all shapes and sizes further complicate the route. ~ source: https://vivecamino.com/en/stages/roncesvalles-zubiri/
We called it our “slippery slope!” “Don’t go down that “slippery slope” wherever it may be, it’s the little things that make you laugh. Again, one thing along the Camino is to enjoy all the moments. Even when they are difficult. This descent lasted for 4kms. And needed our absolute attention but at the bottom we were rewarded with a beautiful bridge with a little bit of history.
The name Zubiri comes from the Basque word for bridge, a clue which tells us that the town was founded relatively late. The bridge itself was thought to cure rabies and hydrophobia in animals, and rituals of crossing the bridge with them or circling its base a number of times were all that it took to work miracles. These miracles were later Christianized and attributed to Santa Quiteria. ~ source: https://www.wisepilgrim.com/camino-frances/zubiri-esteribar
As we crossed the bridge, I definitely felt a sigh of relief. The sun was actually shining brightly and it felt amazing. I just wanted to stand there for a moment and take it in, but we needed to find a bed. I knew I could always come back to this.
We made it to the other side of the bridge and saw a hostel on the right. Let’s check it out. We weren’t expecting to have a bed, due to it being one of the first hostels on the way into town but, God was good, we found beds! Yay!! After we checked in, (and I had a café con leche while we did this!) How did that happen? Because right there beside us was a bonus. They had a little machine that made a delicious café con leche. On the way to our rooms, we had another surprise…met up with Tim and Rodney, our fellow pilgrims were our roommates again. We all made a joke about how we needed to stop meeting this way.
We quickly showered and went to get food! Cale and I realized that today we did not have lunch. We had bought bananas and a few things at the store and basically nibbled on that for the day. So now, we really needed a meal. We headed out to eat and planned to do some laundry and wash our shoes, which were covered with mud. People were doing this down by the river. As the saying goes on the Camino, eat, sleep and repeat.
From my journal:
Monday, May 14th … another cold day with a chance of rain, 30’s – 40’s
23 kms … 15 miles
Today was tuff. I think it was because our legs were still tired from yesterday. It was flat, with a few hard hills and a long, muddy downhill. We called this a “slippery slope”
I dug deep today. Prayed my rosary and reminded myself that I wouldn’t be here without God. We have met so many wonderful people .. everyone is helping each other and giving encouragement. So much kindness. Our paths crossed again with Tim and Rodney and the two Koreans, Sue and Minh. Sue is so funny, stong man! It has become our joke.
I pray I keep my eyes open to see what is not seen!
Check out some of our short videos we made during the day: