Sitting in the basement of an old gym in probably the creepiest place I’ve ever had to try to sleep. This is my albergue for tonight. All I can say, is I deserve a night in a hotel soon. There are a total of 5 other people staying here. Two older men, a couple and my new friend Eva. Oh, 6 others if you count the dead spider on my bed.
Oh well, this will make me stronger right? Now the Italian couple is taking pictures to show their friends and family how creepy the place is.
Anyway, other than a weird place to sleep, the day was good. Another beautiful morning that led us through cute little villages.
In the first one we visited, I noticed that a bunch of older guys were starting to gather, including one with an accordion. Shortly after they left, an older woman told us in Spanish that they’d be performing down the street at 8. So we walked down to watch them before leaving. The same woman explained to us that they walk around the whole village to wake everyone up. Then they all feast on bacon and eggs.
The rest of the day was more beautiful countryside and cute villages.
Tomorrow will be a long day, but I think my body is getting used to the Camino. Still have no blisters or ailments other than my usual knee pain flaring up on occasion. I am finding that switching to my flip flops for the last bit of walking gives my feet the incentive they need to keep going.
I’m writing this from the terrace of the albergue and there’s a thunderstorm off in the distance. So I may have to head inside soon.
Even with little sleep last night (insomnia, not loud snorers), the first part of today was perfect. A beautiful walk through rolling farm fields, looking ahead at the mountain we would be crossing.
The point where we’d cross the top was something I’ve been looking forward to as it’s the location of the Monument of the Pilgrims. If you’ve watched the movie The Way, you would have seen this in one of the scenes. It’s a beautiful monument with amazing views. And a geocache!
While the scenery was still beautiful, the steep downhill caused my bad knee to start aching. Nothing unbearable, just annoying. Then the heat settled in, so my lack of sleep kicked in. One foot in front of the other as my dad’s advice recommends.
The villages we walked through were all cute and quiet. Once we arrived at Puenta la Reina, we planned to get beds at the albergue at the end of town. Though it was advertised as 200 meters away, it was more like a kilometer away, up a steep hill. Frustrated with how far away it was from civilization, we went back and checked in to another albergue in the heart of the city. Here is the view from the 8 person room…
After a shower I tried a local bar/cafe for lunch where I got one of the best frozen pizzas ever. Turns out I could have saved 3.50 euro and picked that same pizza up at the local super mercado. When you’re tired and hungry, you’re not too picky.
Still blister free and enjoying this amazing adventure. It’s funny, every town we go to, we seem to already know half the people there. Heck, those people probably slept in the same room as us the night before! So no place really feels like I’m in a foreign country, even though it looks different from home.
Today was an “easy” day. Easy until we saw that last sign that said 2km to our destination. We thought for sure we were almost there. Oh well, all checked in now at a comfortable albergue in Larrasoaña.
While beautiful, today was not as picturesque as yesterday. I’ll be surprised if any day can beat the beauty of crossing the Pyrenees.
In the morning we walked on a nice forest trail, through farm country where we shared the road with horses, since that was their home. We walked through various cute villages and then up through the mountains.
By early afternoon we crossed the famous holy bridge in to Zubiri. I took my shoes off and soaked them in the river, along with my phone. The phone miraculously still works. In Zubiri we met up with housemates from our first night and had a nice break there for drinks and snacks.
The popular Brierley guide maps out the days for you if you want to follow it and be done in about 34 days. That guide suggests you stay in Zubiri, but we moved on to a recommended albergue in Larrasoaña. It was worth the extra 5km walk, as now we have a short walk to Pamplona. Since it’s a short walk, I’ll likely do a tour of Pamplona and head on farther tomorrow. I will definitely be stopping at the famous Hemingway bar where his sculpture is before moving on.
As we were sitting outside the albergue eating dinner, I realized that 8 of the people from our house of 20 the first night all ended up here at the same place. Even though we walk at different paces we are still connected. It makes me appreciate the family style albergue in St. Jean.
Though tired, my feet are still in good shape and I’m ready for more walking again tomorrow. I like to think that’s because I switched to my flip flops for the last 5km today. 😉
NOTE: I was finally able to upload photos for yesterday’s post, so see below for those.
I made it to Paris…though I spent about 4 hours waiting in painfully long lines and traffic between the time I left the plane and finally reaching downtown. But with the limited time I had, I made the most of it. And I got my last 13 mile training walk logged in the process!
I’ll definitely need to return to Paris someday for a proper visit but loved everything I saw.
Tomorrow I take off for Biarritz. Then a shuttle service will take me to St. Jean. Wednesday, I start walking. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.
If my life were a Dr. Seuss book, it would be “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” I’m always looking for that next adventure. Today is the start of that next adventure. My friend is picking me up to take me to the airport soon and then it’s off to Paris!
I’m so incredibly thankful for all the people who have encouraged me and cheered me on along the way. So many have been or are playing a role in this adventure, whether it’s feeding my fish, covering my work or just following my blog. This is not my journey – it’s our journey. I’m just the one walking it.
For now I leave you with an excerpt (with one minor edit) from one of the most inspirational books of my life.
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the gal who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!