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The days and towns are blurring into one sunny, sensory-packed whole as we trek our way across northern Spain. We have already traveled over one hundred miles (48.7 miles in just the past three days), and our blog posts are not keeping up with our feet. The albergues have wifi, but the downloading and uploading of posts take a great deal of time and are sometimes not possible.
Judi and I have been feeling great with only one small blister each, hiking far, and having so many experiences. We wish we could share every one, but we’ll just give you a taste of our highlights.
In Estella, an elderly man walked about a quarter of a mile out of his way to bring us to an albergue with a vacancy. Kindness abounds here.
This September has seen a larger than usual influx of pilgrims on the Camino. We have met people from such exotic places as the Canary Islands and Panama. Rumors have circulated that “there are no rooms anywhere” as we approach some cities, but we have found by experience that “the Camino provides.” We get up early and walk in the cool of the morning, arrive early, and find a bed.
We are traveling through the Rioja, the wine-producing district of Spain. We walk through vineyards with rows after rows of grapevines heavily laden with bountiful grapes, so dark purple that they are nearly black. Interspersed are trees with slender leaves and green olives, and above our heads are cloudless, azure skies.
After Estella, we felt we deserved a short day of walking so we checked into a camping village in Irache where we rented half of a tiny cottage and felt decadent and pampered as we sat outside on the porch and watched the twilight descend into night and the stars appear.
Leaving early in the morning has such advantages: watching the sun rise and capturing the sight of Medieval buildings bathed in the morning light.
Our next day of hiking brought us past Los Arcos to an albergue in Sansol with all the comforts of home: washer, dryer, and hot food. Life is good, and I even had a chance to write in my journal.
Due to technical difficulties, we haven’t been able to add new posts with pictures, but rest assured that we are safe, exhausted, pain- and blister-free, and resting for the night in Pamplona.
The hike over the Pyrenees was incredible in every way: strenuous, long, but most of all breathtakingly beautiful. When we can make our computers work well again, we will share Judi’s pictures….just wait, they will knock your socks off.
After Roncevalles, we walked to Zubiri and on to Pamplona for a grand total of about forty-two miles so far. We hit the trail tomorrow morning on the way to Puenta la Reina fourteen miles away and are hoping for more reliable wifi service when we arrive. Until then, please know that we are thinking about all of our friends, both old and brand-new. We already have been welcomed into our own Camino family that includes folks from South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Ireland, France, Holland, Germany, Canada, and the U.S.
Thank you for all of your comments. We have treasured every one.
“Take it easy. You’ll have no problem,” Jacques reassured us when we talked with him this morning at the Pilgrims’ office. This climb over the Pyrenees makes the first day on the Camino the toughest. Jacques has counseled many pilgrims over the years and certainly made us feel confident.
We spent the day exploring the town, making new friends, and having adventures.
Being early meant that we caught our 11:19 a.m. train out of Paris with no trouble. Our connection in Bordeau-St. Jean was another story. Our Paris train pulled into the station five minutes late, and we only had five more minutes to find platform two. Picture two American women racing through a slow-moving crowd to a blocked stairway to and desperately finding another route as the doors to the train were sliding closed. The conductor’s warm smile and chuckle assured us that they wouldn’t have left without us.
In Bayonne, there was no missing our colorful single-coach train because the women sitting inside at the windows exuberantly waved us in.