Distance walked: 13.8 miles
Album of the day: Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions by Franz Ferdinand, although my Scottish friends sang a bit of the Proclaimers for me when I had it stuck in my head 🙂
Today was my first day with my big backpack. I left Roncesvalles early, at 7:15, with a Gu in stomach and the plan to stop in about 45 mintures for some more substantial breakfast. The dawn looked clear, but as I peered out the window of the dorm, I noticed many of the departing pilgrims with their large coverall ponchos on. “Is it raining?” I asked a hostel volunteer. “Not now, but it will,” she answered.
Boy, was she right. Not long after breakfast, clouds rolled in and a light drizzle soon deepened into a steady rain. My new rain jacket works like a charm, and my duffle-turned-rain cover kept my pack dry… but I realized that all of this did nothing to protect my hands. They were so cold! I have some cotton stretch gloves, but I didn’t bother since I knew that as soon as they were wet, they’d just turn into little soaked sponges in my hands.
And then the rain was gone, revealing a clear blue sky.
And then it was back.
And then it was sunny again. See a pattern here? I didn’t even bother taking my rain gear off. The road today was mostly downhill, which is not as pleasant as it sounds because it places an entirely different pressure on your feet and legs. I am LOVING my trekking poles: they have really saved my knees. Tomorrow will have much flatter terrain; I am looking forward to it.
For breakfast this morning, I stopped at a little supermarket in Burguete, just 3k outside of Roncesvalles. I was checking out yogurt prices when I heard the guy next to me speaking English. His name was Colin and he was from Houston, Texas. We split a 4-pack of yogurt, apples, and a loaf of French bread for breakfast, using the remainder of the Guatemalan honey that Nadine had pawned off on me in San Pedro. As we stood there eating, an energetic gray-haired Italian man bounded up to us and started excitedly asking, “Fidanzata??? I burst out laughing and had to explain to Colin that this gentleman had just asked if we were engaged. Colin is now officially my “fiancé” to anyone who asks ;).
This new Italian friend of ours, Marcello, is now perched next to me on a couch by the fire in the common room of our hostel in Zubiri. He is speaking in rapid-fire Italian, asking questions about his Camino guidebook. I understand maybe one of every eight words. A semester of Italian fifteen years ago has not exactly stuck with me! He also just asked the American man and Australian woman next to me if they were my parents. i guess everyone wants to make connections.
I did not make it to Larrasoaña as planned today. While my pack didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would and I was keeping my feet taped up and covered in Aquaphor all day, I discovered a nasty set of blisters on my right pinky toe and decided to call it a day. My sleeping bag will be jettisoned the second I get to Pamplona.
Suzie, Miho from Croatia, and Colin are also staying in Zubiri tonight, so I got to eat my pilgrim dinner (and wine) with friends. (A different Italian last night had asked Suzie and I if we were sisters. Is it me, or is it Italians? 🙂 )
Off to Pamplona tomorrow!