July 17, 2008

Day 48: 31 May- Roncesvalles to Zubiri

At 6am some quiet classical music came on, and the lights came on.... And as I passed by the doorway en route for the toilets downstairs, I realised that it was Pouring with rain outside, with a capital P. It became evident that not everyone was prepared for such conditions. Some had no rainwear at all, while others had thin plastic ponchos of the $2 shop variety, that would be lucky to last ten minutes. Roncesvalles lies at 950m folks, and is in a mountain valley: if you think Spain is always dry and warm, think again and come prepared!

I wasn't among the first to leave the albergue. I was hoping the rain might ease off a little. It didn't! It was a wet walk to Burguete where breakfast provided a welcome break indeed.
Luckily, there was a gymnasium open next to the bar, where everyone could strip off their rainwear before enjoying breakfast in a welcoming dry, warm place. Then put it on again for the next section in the rain...
Later the rain stopped, and there were some pleasant villages to walk through, as well as some muddy paths to negotiate.
I met up with the three Canadians I had first met in SJPP, and again in Orisson... and I was to enjoy meeting them again..... We had lunch in a pleasant wooded spot, without any rain.
After I wrote on my Nomad blog that I had reached Zubiri, I got a lovely e-mail from John, whose pilgrim blog I had read before my journey. He talked about how he remembered Zubiri with fondness because he had spent time on the riverbank in the sunshine... Well such an exploit was certainly not possible today. The river was running high and swiftly, and all the grass near it was long and saturated.
And this bridge photo also brings back other memories for me: it was just before this bridge that I took a huge fall, the only such fall of my whole trip. I was actually very lucky it wasn't a trip-ending fall. I had just finished descending the long rocky, muddy hill down into Zubiri, using my stick all the way, and needing to concentrate. When I reached the "safe" concrete path at the bottom, my concentration lapsed a little as I began to think about taking a few photographs near the bridge. Then, skedaddle.... I completely lost my footing and fell forward, flat onto my front, with my pack falling hard onto my back a fraction later. Amazingly, I felt fine the next day, and even my camera, on my waistband at the front, wasn't damaged!

Ahhhhhh and another memory from Zubiri: it was the place where I came across The Snorer From Hell!


  1. I'm so glad you never mentioned the extent of this fall in your emails, or the three wise s.....s would have worried more :)

  2. Yeah... I knew that.... so I knew it might be better to keep quiet about it!! I mean, if it had been a trip-ending injury you would have seen me sooner though wouldn't you!!!

  3. Yes, I may have had to use my 15 years empty passport to come and get you!

  4. Yeah... speaking of that poor, lonely, unused passport... I notice they have just reduced fares across the Tasman... I know we have at least one cousin who would welcome a visitor!!!!

  5. Margaret,

    Is the watch still working?


  6. Michele, the watch is still working!!!!!