Day 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

Day 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

Today’s distance: 24 km
Total distance: 49.8 km
Elevation gain: 517 metres
Weather: Overcast
Highlight: Something must change!

I wrote this in the middle of the night in the darkness of my sleeping bag so I wouldn’t awaken any of my seven room mates with the light of my iPad.

So now I have to tell you about the bad days as well as the good ones. Right? All days are not perfect. This was one.

I didn’t take my own advice to find your own pace; don’t rush; be in the moment; be open to what happens; and don’t worry about keeping to the schedule. I like to make a schedule and stick with it – typical of a Virgo. Now I am going to allow myself to forget about the schedule if it is the only way to stay happy. Why walk the Camino if you are not having a good time?

I envied a woman I saw yesterday. She had shrugged off her pack and found a mossy nest for herself under towering deciduous trees with their bright green new leaves providing a beautiful canopy. The birds were chattering and singing above. Sun dappled the forest floor. She was taking the time to enjoy herself right then and there. She wasn’t listening to any inward chatter that might have been going on – the kind I had going on in my own head today: Get to your albergue so you can get a bed, shower, wash your clothes while there is still hot water. THEN you can enjoy yourself. For her that wasn’t the priority; she chose to enjoy herself right then and there.

For me, yesterday was lovely because I took my time and enjoyed my journey. I had the security of a reservation at Roncesvalles. I sat on a rock to eat my sandwich and absorb the wonder of the 365 degree view of these fabulous mountains. By the time I felt ready to start walking again, I was restored with energy and happy to move on. I was living in the moment.

Not today! Today was the exact flip side of yesterday! The inclement weather we faced this morning might have had something to do with it. I only slept about three hours so I wasn’t feeling very cheerful to begin with.

I knew this stage walking from Roncesvalles to Zubiri wouldn’t have nearly the same elevation change as the first two days going over the Pyrenees but, whenever there was a hill to climb or the long, steep descent into Zubiri, I felt a twinge of resentment, maybe even more than a twinge. I did my share of mountain climbing for the last two days. Why more?

Leaving Viskarret

The fourth toe on my right foot as well as my hips hurt. I could hardly wait to get to my destination: Zubiri. Mentally I was giving up on the idea of going a little further and staying at Larrasoana. I was done for the day – the hardest one yet!

Because I wanted desperately to get to my destination, I didn’t stop for lunch or even a caffeine fix because I knew if I sat for any length of time I wouldn’t feel like getting up again.

To add insult to injury, I added an unnecessary kilometre onto this day’s journey after I arrived in Zubiri. I wanted to stay at the recommended Suseia Albergue which was off the beaten track. On the way there, I passed by a lineup of pilgrims waiting outside El Palo de Avellano Albergue. One of the pilgrims in line looked a whole lot like a bald Bruce Willis. Could it be?

As it turned out, the Suseia Albergue had no beds available unless I had a reservation. Wouldn’t you know it? I cancelled my reservation because I thought I’d have the energy to walk to Larrasoana. The only option was the albergue I passed earlier – the one where Bruce Willis was staying. I joined the line-up and they were almost full with only room for five more behind me.

There are forty beds in five rooms and it is very good. For 18 Euros I have a proper single bed; a top bunk would have been 13 Euros. It was worth the extra 5 Euros. Dinner was 13 Euros for a five course meal and was the most delicious meal I have had on the Camino so far. The wine was great and desperately needed today especially, and I loved the tiramisu! Our table mates were lovely people: Mellie, a kindergarten teacher from Bavaria and Tyson who has lived for the past six years in Passadena but originates from Surrey, BC.

El Palo de Avellano Albergue, Zubiri

The 7 AM breakfast was sold out so I have an 8 AM seating for breakfast. That means we get a later start than I would have liked. I thought of skipping breakfast, but if it is as good as dinner, I’m staying.

One of my room mates lives in Pamplona and has offered a tour of the city if we meet at city hall at 6 PM. I should say later today as I am writing this in the middle of the night. I sure hope I make it to Pamplona tomorrow, but the lesson I learned today was that I shouldn’t push it. What will be, will be.

11 thoughts on “Day 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

  1. Judy, I love your introspective honesty… of your many gifts!
    Taking it slower on the Camino or in our lives gives us the gift of ‘presence’.

    Bravo and hugs to you.

    1. Thanks, Maggie. We do need to slow down and simplify our lives, don’t we. The Camino sure does that and that’s why I love it so much. Hugs back to you! 🙂

  2. Hi Judy,
    So glad you have THAT difficult day behind you early in your trip. Although there are sure to be a few more wrinkles along the way, best wishes for days which are filled with sunshine, fun and bright moments to inspire you on your journey and once again, create beautiful memories.
    Best, Maggie

    1. Thanks, Maggie. It was good to come to the realization about how best to manage “down days.” We do learn important lessons to take into our every day lives on the Camino. It’s funny how we forget when things get busy. I guess that’s the project upon returning home. Pamplona was a huge highlight… Coming next! 🙂

  3. Judy,

    Always remember, tomorrow will be brighter. But good on you for giving us the negatives with the positives. That is real life!

  4. Sounds like some of the aches and pains we get around home here. Remember to loosen your right boot and to stop for coffee and rest each 4-6 km.(RX). Sounds like you joined the Camino rush hour race for beds. Takes away from a relaxing positive experience and contributes to over doing it with associated pains. Good luck tomorrow. Hubby Dave :-))

  5. Hi Judy
    Sounds like your Virgo-ness is getting a challenge.
    Love that you got your “inner bitch” going. Sometimes
    it’s just that way. You are an amazing example of perseverance.
    Please remember to give yourself a break and take that time
    you have been dreaming of. Sending hugs, love and the
    biggest cuppa of cafe con leche. oh and a foot massage. ahhhh.
    You are a Champion. love B

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