Sunday, September 4, 2011
I´d met Bell in Johannesburg so we travelled to Madrid and Pamplona together. Tricia was already at the Pension Sarasate when we arrived. At 3:40 I met Alan at the bus station and showed him back to the Pension. Judith arrived at 18h26 from Madrid - and so we were five.
We bought a four course take-away meal at a little place across the road, set the table in the ´salon´in the Gite and had dinner in. I used the opportunity to do the ´breaking the ice´ ceremony where everyone had a chance to tell us their name, what they liked to be called, when they had first heard about the Camino and what they expected from it. It was a great evening and everyone shared a little more about their lives, their reasons for walking el Camino and what they hoped to get of it.
By late afternoon there was a typical mountain storm with heavy rain and thunder. The rain drummed down and it looked as though we were in for a wet walk the next day. In the morning it was still raining so we all donned our rain coats (Bell gave Brian a rain jacket as she had bought an ALTUS) and Caroline fetched us at 8am to take us back up to Orisson. For other pilgrims out there I would recommend doing it this way. You can book a bed in a dorm in Orrisson, or sleep in a tent but it was great to have a good night sleep and a hot shower before starting off the next day on the longest part of the trail.
We started out in drizzle and thick mist. Compared with the day before we couldn´t see the views, excepting for the occaisonal glimpse of deep gorges and high mountains whenever the mist cleared a little. The first 12km or so are on a narrow tarred road.
The Pilgrim´s office had advised against using the forest road as it was very muddy and slippery. I was walking with Judith at that time and we asked a group of pilgrims whether this was the crossroad where we had a choice of routes. ´´No, replied an Irish pilgrim. You take this path for 2km and then take a right or left.´ So down we went. It was almost vertical. A narrow sandy, sometimes rocky, path through the largest remaining Beech forest in Europe. Down, down, down all the way to Roncesvalles. Hard on the quads, on the shins and on the toes!
Judith wasn´t feeling too well so I rang for a taxi to take us back to Burguete where we had a lovely meal cooked and served by the Pension owners - 11 euro for a three course meal. The Pension Pedroarena (pronounced Pedro Arena) is a lovely place, spotlessly clean, comfortable beds, en suite bathrooms for 40 euro a double room and 35 for a single. I recommend it to anyone wanting to stay in Burguete. This morning we had breakfast the at the Pension (3.50 euro) before setting off for Zubiri. It was a lovely walk. First through shady forest with plump blackberries on the brambles alongside the road. Then higher up through oak and Beech and then on rocky paths down to a few streams and rivers. I walked mostly with Tricia and Alan and when we arrived in Zubiri at 2pm we found Bell and Brian waiting for us on the bridge. When we walked into the village we saw Judith who showed us where the Pension Amets is. Perfectly situated close to the bridge. Spotlessly clean, comfortable rooms but not with en suite bathrooms. However, there are bathrooms on the lower and first floor, a place to hang washing and a gate through the garden to the river below.