Day 3 – I Survived!

Roncesvalles to Vizcarret-Guerendiáin – 12 Kms, 18,390 steps

Too bad the sign is now defaced

Due to the fact that the weather forecast was poor for the the next morning, I went out last night in front of my alberge and took the picture above. That’s the famous 790 Kms sign everyone gets themselves photographed in front of as they leave Roncesvalles. Turns out doing it the night before was a good idea:

The 790 sign is just to the left of this shot

Here’s what the start of the Camino, across the street, looked like at 8:00 AM the next morning: misty, foggy, wet. Everyone suited up in their rain gear and headed out for the next stage. In my case, I put on my Altus poncho, which covers me and my pack. It was misty and damp, but not actually raining, which was promising. Within half an hour, the sun broke through, the mist cleared, and everyone shed their rain gear.

The scallop shell, symbol of the Camino, is everywhere…
… as are reminders of the heritage of the area

Today’s walk went through mostly-flat and very welcome forests. I re-experienced an appreciation of the raw beauty of it all; it was almost overwhelming. The huge mossy beech trees inhabit a special world.

“Zona de Perros” means loose dogs in the area

My halfway point today was the town of Espinal and halfway throught it was Bar Keler, a wonderful place to take a break. The exhuberant owner is a real character, who delights in quoting Marcus Aurelius and exhorting us all to connect with our inner selves. He was a bit manic and may have been sampling the espresso too often. Oh, but the food on offer was outstanding. A wide range of tasty stuff in small, perfect-for-pilgrims sizes.

The good stuff, at Bar Keler

I felt bad for the gaggle of young pilgrims I saw who fell for the signs and had stopped short at what was a “vending village”, instead of carrying on a few blocks further to Bar Keler.

I wasn’t the only one having a mid-morning snack

How nice it was to just sort of stroll along (though there were a few uphill climbs), knowing I had plenty of time to reach my stop for the day. The town of Vizcarret-Guerendiáin is small but has several nice alberges and Bar Juan, where I had lunch while waiting for the albergue to open.

Lunch: My first Ensalada Mixta of this Camino… but not the last

In my albergue, La Posada Nueva, I met a number of interesting folks. Three senior citizens from Australia (also on their second Camino), two young Irish girls from Kildare, and two long-haul pilgrims: Maurice, an American who started in Paris, and Hendrik, a Dutchman who started near Amsterdam! We had a very pleasant communal dinner.

My legs and feet are tired but doing quite well considering. I’ve been stretching carefully every night and morning. Tomorrow is a taxing but short walk to the riverside town of Zubiri. After that comes a long one, to Pamplona.

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