Camino day 2 have walked 27.5k now with 790k or so to go. Today was a great day with a hard climb from up the Pyrenees from Orisson France and steep descent into Roncesvalles Spain.
A nice clear day with magnificent views from the refuge hut. Took a rest here at what I thought was the highest point at 1344 metres. Unfortunately, when I set off again the track just kept going up!! The highest point was not too much further at 1450 meters with views into Spain!
The SOS point near the Spanish border had free wifi and I spoke with Trish via wifi. Unfortunately ended up having to complete some work that could not be done before I left. But no more work to worry about from here on.
Was a pleasant stop nevertheless with wonderful views over Spain and two horses with bells joining me for lunch. The descent from here was through picturesque forest but very steep. Not wanting to injure myself so early I paused to put knee braces on and lengthen the hiking poles before setting off down again. Later that evening I heard a lady behind me slipped on the descent and broke her ankle. The end of her Camino on day 2!!
Emerging from the forest and crossing a small stream the huge Albergue de peregrinos de Orreaga where I am staying in Roncesvalles is right in front of you.
Unlike the previous Camino section there are hundreds of people here being dropped off here by busses and taxis. A lot of Spanish pilgrims start their Camino here. I arrived at Roncesvalles at 1pm and had no problem being given a bed as one of the first through the Alburgue door when they opened.
Got cleaned up did my washing and Enjoyed a beer or 2 on the terrace of a nearby cafe. In the mean time 400 pilgrims turned up after me and there was a very long que. Apparently record numbers for one day. This prompted some concerns re the availability of accommodation at my next stop of Zubiri. So while the hundreds of pilgrims were queuing to get a bed I called ahead and managed to book a bed at Zubri for tomorrow
A nearby café provided a pilgrim meal of traditional trout and a small desert. I had to finish off the red wine as most at my table were non drinkers. Guess that is part of the sacrifices a pilgrim has to make.
I have surprised myself by being a lot faster than most so far. However, my toe may slow me down tomorrow and the last thing I want to join is a ‘bed race’ to get accommodation. Looks like I will need to work on a strategy to stop at the in between places rather than the guide book stages to get out of this wave of pilgrims.
Physically all seems to be going as well as can be expected except for a blood blister on my right big toe I have to deal with.