Another rainy, muddy, cold day.
The albergue in Roncevalles was wonderful and so welcome after such a difficult day. Clean and modern, it is a converted monastery and holds more than 100 pilgrims. No bunk beds this time, and lockers for your stuff.
Wisely, they have a well used room where pilgrims put their boots rather than stomping all through their beautiful albergue (hostel).
A few people are becoming my Camino family. The are the German ladies, Honey (American spelling of a German name) and Casidy (ditto). There is Juan Carlos from Honduras. There is SoMin and her mother and father. And many more people whom I recognize from either their faces or their backpacks.
Still rainy and slick, especially in the mountains. Some who blasted past me yesterday have been brought low by their own exuberance.
Within one kilometer of the start of the day, a pilgrim fell face first on the trail avoiding mud. He got up, laughing, and his friends good-naturedly joked with him, but I decided that I would take it very carefully.
I had packed some medication for tendonitis in my first aid kit. Like an umbrella, I figured that if I had it with me, I wouldn’t need it. On this day, I was right. Along the trail, a group of walkers gathered around a young Italian who had hurt his Achilles and was in much pain. I was able to share some of the gel before the others created a temporary bandage for him. He continued on his way but was very slow and in much pain.
The Camino continues to be a different kind of spiritual experience. I thought I’d be thinking about My relationship with God and with the universe. Instead. I find myself thinking about how cold it is, how there is no place dry enough to sit and rest, and about how to not fall on my ass in the mud.
The rain has turned all the minor streams into rushing rivers. But I’m almost tempted to walk through them in order to get the mud off my boots.
The last part of the trail leading into Zubiri was one of the most treacherous paths I’ve ever been on. It was steeply downhill and mud and rock covered. Very slow and dangerous.
Finally arriving in Zubiri before the town ran out of available beds, I tried to find a place to buy a comb (which I had already lost after one day), some food and some magic blister repair lotion.
I ended up buying a loaf of bread, some ham, some cheese, and a bottle of wine for dinner.
I joined the others at the hostel in the community eating room. I found myself in a United Nations of new friends with one thing in common – the Camino.
German, Italian, French, Spanish, no English, conversations all around.