Somewhat surprisingly, I woke up this morning to discover that I was in fact still alive and even more incredulously, not one part of my body had gone on strike overnight either.
That said, I was a little bit surprised to see that I seemed to be further away than when I started, according to this road sign.
I guess us Peregrinos take a few short cuts.
Notwithstanding the lack of physical effects from the baptism of fire of the first day, there was however the small issue of getting used to sharing space with an interesting mix of humanity, who proved both capable and willing to make noises come out of their bodies that can only be described as unusual, alarming and medically unlikely.
That comes from staying at the Albergue de Roncesvalles, which can only be realistically described as a bunk bed Travelodge, with more than 150 Peregrinos packed into a medieval monastery with IKEA beds and almost certainly the loudest toilets in the Western Hemisphere.
If all that sounds like criticism, it isn’t.
It was a haven of calm and a melting pot of cultures, from the Slovenian girl in the bunkbed above me who treated me to a stretching lesson and foot cream, to Mauro the Tanzanian who was doing his fourth Camino by starting further back each time and who complimented me on having crossed the Pyrenees for no good reason at all.
It seems that rather a lot of people start on the other side. How sensible of them.
By comparison, today has been an easy enough stage, apart from some unhelpfully diagonal super slippery sliding rocks on the descent into Zubiri, punctuated by actual conversations with other human beings, given that I had both more oxygen and mental bandwidth to get involved in that sort of thing.
I liked this alternative use for old jeans.
Four pints of Estrella and a plate of chicken wings later, the world has been set to rights by Robin from Ohio, Ricardo and Elena from Milan, Jordi and his daughters from Barcelona and Lea from Germany – one of those evenings when it’s proved – once again – that we’re all pretty much the same and it’s only our politicians that let us down.
Albergue de Roncesvalles
Slept on a lower bunk bed with a Slovenian girl upstairs and two Americans on the other side. We didn’t snore – they certainly did.
No bedbugs, no mosquitoes.
Left Foot and Right Foot are now working more closely together and there continue to be no blisters, no hot spots and therefore no worries at all.
Left Shoulder has stopped whinging, but Left Knee has sent up intermittent abuse reports. I’m ignoring these, for now.
Trips, Slips and Falls: 0 (0)
Applications of Factor 50, even though it wasn’t sunny: 0 (4)
Filling of Water Bottles: 0 (4)
Number of times “Buen Camino” was said: Well down on the first day, less than 100, with basic levels of normal human interaction restored.
Poncho deployments: 2
Stupid Juvenile Observation:
These cows, passing silent judgement on us silly humans walking off somewhere when there’s good grass to be chewed right in front of you.
They’re not as silly as they look.