Day 9,10 Crossing the Pyrenees to Spain

Roncesvalles – 
We were blessed with a beautiful day to cross the Pyrenees permitting us to choose The Napoleon Route (which I guess he did used with his army). 

On the path we are joining an army of international pilgrims for the 1,390 meter climb to the border of Spain followed by a 600 meter descent it Roncelvares. Here there is a huge Alburge run by Dutch volunteer hosptilareos. (My companions, An & Mieke, will be returning here in a few days to help for 2 weeks) The main building alone houses 266 pilgrims in beautiful spotless contemporary dormitories. 

Of course our efforts on the ascent were rewarded with majestic views. We enjoyed them during our numerous rest stops. Having such a large community of hikers in front and behind us was a huge change from our walk from Lourdes and took a bit of attitude adjustment. 

This was by far our longest and highest hike so far. However we were grateful for the experience and conditioning gained during our French hike which began we gentle hills and gradually increased in difficulty. Though where we had a difficult time finding food on the trails in France here there were two food trucks just on today’s walk. One serving the best watermelon I’ve ever tasted. 

We finished that day @ 5:15 pm, after 10 hours walking, just in time to clean up and attend the Pilgrims mass & blessing. There were people from about 25 countries attending.  

Dinner was a different experience. We had the late seating which provided us with a few intoxicated pilgrims. And we were “blessed” to have the loudest of them join our table. 
Our dorm was the on the top floor so we did not have bunk beds which was great. Lights are turned off at 10:00 & back on at 6:00am and we are required to be out by 8:00am. It is very different life👣

Zubiri – 
Today was a much less challenging walk but still presented some difficult downhill sections. The day was filled with Buen Camino greetings with our new collection of friends from around the world. It is wonderful to observe people connecting as we move along the Way at varying speeds. Some greetings turn into conversations which may last for a kilometer or two and may be continued that afternoon over coffee in the next village or the roadside food truck. (Today’s truck offers an unusual Camino promise!)

We encountered friends from previous albergues and met many new friends. My friend An has such a beautiful spirit that she is a people magnet. She also speaks many languages as is quick to offer assistance to anyone in need. 

This night we stayed in a new beautiful 3 bedroom apartment. Living arrangements like everything are shared. We were shown to our home for the night by the owner then went out for a look around town. Returning “home” to discover that the other 2 rooms are occupied by strangers. Such is the Pilgrims life in rural Spain. 

We again ran into our British friends before as we headed out to dinner. Great meal & dessert. We all found sleeping a bit difficult once. This time we could blame again a lonely sheep nearby bleating for hours and the nearby church bell markin the hour all night. 

4 thoughts on “Day 9,10 Crossing the Pyrenees to Spain

  1. I am really enjoying following along on your journey. It brings back wonderful memories of my own walk last year, especially the meeting new people bits. By the time I reached Pamplona, I had become embedded in a group of about a dozen people who shared meals, booked whole rooms, pooled our money for cafe stops etc. The group stuck together all the way to Santiago. It was an amazing experience.

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