Today we rose at six not to the sound of alarm clocks or noisy pilgrims rustling in their bags but rather to the strumming of the guitars of the volunteers of our alburgue singing "Morning Has Broken". When we were all packed and arrived downstairs, they had changed their tune to "Que Sera, Sera", adding their own verse about the rain.
I was happy to have Vera as company during my walk today! We walk at a similar pace, her a little faster on the hills and me a little faster on the downward slopes. We talk some as we walk, but mostly enjoy each other's silent company. I also had the pleasure of walking a bit with Juan, a pilgrim from Spain who took pleasure in quizzing me on Spanish vocabulary. (Llueva is rain and charco is puddle.) And I walked again today with Monte, the pilgrim who only gets to walk a week. We left Roncesvalles at six thirty this morning, stopping for cafe con leche around ten thirty and breakfast around eight and arrived to Zubiri around one pm -- about six hours and twenty five kilometers later.
Today's walk was a little more challenging, partly because of the cold and rain, and partly because our bodies are so sore from yesterday. I can only imagine that after the assault all of the steep, muddy declines today, tomorrow will be even that much more challenging. After arriving in Zubiri we ate a lunch of sandwiches and apples and checked into the Municipal Albergue. We then promptly rid ourselves of the wet clothes we were wearing and put on warm layers, barricaded ourselves inside our sleeping bags, and took a well deserved nap.
After our nap, we rose and stretched our sore muscles, organized our packs, put out our clothes to dry, and went to find dinner. I had dinner with Vera tonight, the first warm meal since I left the United States -- mushroom risotto with chicken and a fried egg (do not knock it -- it was absolutely delicious!!) We also shared a pitcher of sangria (again, delicious). After dinner I went to the church, but there is no mass tonight and the gates were locked; I suppose tonight I will have to pray my rosary in my bunk. Now I am back in my sleep room of the alburgue where there are twenty bunks housing forty pilgrims. It seems more like we are in a home for the invalid than a shelter for pilgrims, everyone limping and moaning and sleeping, but I know God will give us all strength to get up with the sun and do it all again tomorrow.
Here are a few pictures from today:
The wake up crew singing us on our way!!
There were lots signs of encouragement along the way, even if that wasn't their original purpose ...
A warm meal on a wet day does a body good.
This is the view from my bunk ... a cozy spot for a good night's rest.
And I'm off to sleep. Please pray for all the pilgrims tomorrow as we set out on another long day!!