We are no longer in France. We are back in Spain, where we’ve come to feel more at home. After our last post we awoke in the morning to the reality that we were both sick and that walking 15+ miles with nearly a mile elevation gain while sporting runny noses, headaches and sneezes might not be recommended. So we stretched our one day in France to three. We stayed in a friendly pilgrim refuge with a “zen attitude” and 3 dogs and 6 cats. We mainly stayed in bed and sneezed and blew our noses, but we also ventured out for coffee and groceries and to lay in our underwear in the sun by a river.
This morning we woke up and decided we were ready for what is likely the most challenging day of the Camino. We were some of the very last pilgrims to leave St. Jean. After about an hour we encountered a Northern Irish 30-year-old testicular cancer survivor giving himself three weeks to walk the Camino between jobs. We walked with him for the remainder of the day. For being sick we did a pretty good job climbing the Pyrenees.
We arrived in Roncesvalles, Spain at around 3:30pm after a 6-hour walk and found our €10 refuge and made a 7pm reservation for the pilgrim’s dinner, served family style with our fellow walkers. The refuge is very beautiful, clean, comfortable and safe. Although at first it did not appear to be well organized, it feels very welcoming and homey. And it has great showers!
Our trip tomorrow is mostly downhill as we continue down the Pyrenees foothills towards Pamplona.