Stage 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

11 Sep 2019 – 22.3 Km

I slept in a bunk cube at Roncesvalles with two Italians and a young French woman. While the lavatories and showers were segrated by gender, the randomly-assigned bunks were not.

There’s quite a lot to be said about the vagaries of albergue life. Roncesvalles, for example, had a full “laundry service” in the basement, where staff would wash, dry, and fold your laundry for 3.5eu. They also had a nicely-equipped kitchen where you could cook your own meal (assuming you hauled the ingredients in with you), a large room with tables and outlets (the digital device use room), and a lending library, all quite modern.

The two friends I made at Orisson the first night, Claude from Quebec and Laurent from Miami, met me for a beer last night and we compared sore leg muscles.

Lights out at 10pm was signaled first by the playing of recorded soft Gregorian chants (it’s a monastery, after all). In the morning, they were played again starting at 6am, in increasing volume. A nice touch, I thought. We all had to be out of the place by 8:30am.

The Famous 790 kms sign..
…so having covered 24 Kms, I have only 790 more to go. Piece of cake!

The 22 Km walk to Zubiri is today, and it’s “relatively” flat. Meaning bottled oxygen will likely not be necessary, but there will be some heart-pounding inclines and some knee-killing descents. At least there was no rain and the temperature was comfortable.

Local art encourages pilgrims

There are a lot of interesting art installations, public and private, along the Camino and I’ll try to show you more of them.

This is one of the markers that guides us as we go along. There are also a series of painted yellow arrows. They give you confidence that you can always find the Camino route.

Municipalities also help mark the route…
… and so do local property owners.

The last part of the day features extreme descents down paths created from jutting rocks and flat rock formations. Really, really treacherous, even with trekking poles for extra support and balance. I was reduced to going down sideways, one leg at a time in places, for a hundred yards. This is where Camino-ending injuries like twisted or broken ankles happen. Talk about tired legs!

I finally reached Zubiri after nearly seven hours, dead beat. I was very happy to easily find my small albergue and get myself installed. As an official “Viejo” or Old Guy, I continue to get a coveted bottom bunk.

How I Feel: Everything hurts, legs and feet exhausted. I’m concerned about my legs and knee tendons, which are quite sore. Trapezius (shoulders) aching, clearly backpack is too heavy. All other systems seem good, although I again feel like I was too tired to sleep properly. Wondering if I can really do this, and when (if) I’ll get a good night’s sleep.

Expenses today:
– Coffee, mid-morning snack: 4eu
– Albergue Zaldiko: 10eu
– Dinner: 5eu

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