Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8 Orisson to Roncesvalles

Alicia's Stone

This was a day for superlatives: magnificent, spectacular, awesome, glorious and amazing. Under bright clear sunny skies and with a cool, cool wind, we walked over the Pyrenees. I was positively euphoric. We probably climbed more elevation than on our way to Orisson but it was at a much more gradual grade and the views were so wonderful and expansive that it was just awe-inspiring and I was literally crying tears of joy.

There were a few more tears when, at the top of one section of the French Pyrenees there is a cross and we took time to place the stone we had carried from home for our friend Alicia. We wish her love and good health.

All day, we walked with two French Canadians, Rene and Dominque and couldn't help but bore them with how different this crossing was from the blizzard that we faced two years ago. If I could have skipped in my hiking boots, I'm sure I would have. After a couple of hours we crossed the cattleguard that signals the border between France and Spain: "au revoir" and now "hola"!
We enjoyed a few little rest stops and too many to count photo shoots and were in Roncevalles early afternoon. Again the contrast between this time and last was incredible. The place was packed with people as there was a big festival being held. It was almost impossible to move through the crowds. We managed to squeeze our way through to the new pilgrim's office and to the new alberque! No more 120 beds squeezed into a cold, dark, ancient monastery. Now it was a brand new, well appointed IKEA modern facility. Some things haven't changed though, there is still a pilgrim's mass at 6pm and we got reservations at the same restaurant as last time for the early dinner - still can't manage to wait to 8:30 to eat.

So all in all Dayton and I agree that this was one of the best walking days we have ever experienced.


  1. What a fabulous way to cross into Spain. Magnificent. I would hope that one day good fortune would offer that same passage to Robin and I. Time will tell. It seems you are both doing great and that your camino has been one of superlatives. What are your plans after Estella?


  2. I remember the mass at Roncevalles. It was very moving. I am more determined now to take Linda on the Camino from St. Jean to Finistera. The ponies would have been a sight to behold. I'm following you with envy, but happy for you guys.
    Cheers and blessings and nice thought with the stone. Alicia is a trooper and so is Jeff.

    Cheers and blessings on your journey, peregrino(a).
    John and Linda

  3. So glad to know you had a good walking day! Happy Mother's Day, Karen! Jordan and I had a lovely day with the family. Work is going well, although I still haven't gotten used to the drive. We picked up your Browallias on Saturday and plan to plant them this coming weekend (weather permitting). It has been awfully wet here thus far.
    Happy walking!

  4. Absolutely the best possible weather possible here. We are taking two days break from the Camino and have gone to San Sebastian on the north coast. After Estella, we are going north again to Bilboa and Emilio, our Spanish Camino friend is going to come and visit with us. Then home.