Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mon. May 9 Roncevalles to Larrasoaña

No More Mud !!!

Another spectacularly beautiful hot sunny day of walking and, no it doesn´t get old. This morning brought shades of the Camino bed race as at 5am everyone was up and rustling about preparing to walk. We walked all day with Dominque and Rene who, we think, appreciated our experience helping them get off to a good start on their Camino - or they could just be patiently indulging us. Dayton is a fountain of good advice and has an incredible memory or every sign, turn, cafe stop and path. We had a our first Camino cafe con leche stop in Viscarret which our two French Canadians say will be one of the easiest things to adjust to on the Camino. We had fun exchanging 'buen caminos' with a couple of young Spaniards who were biking and stopping to treat the other young folk to beers at their Zubiri lunch break, and again in Larrasoaña. Their game plan was basically - bike, bar, beer - bike, bar, beer - bike, bar beer. And they were such a light-hearted delight to meet.

My memory is never as good or clear as Dayton's but it was clear about how steep and muddy our first walk into Larrasoaña was but no more; it is now a long cement-pressed paved boardwalk. What took us an hour of treacherous mindful stepping last time was now a quick ten minute breeze. The other thing I remembered well was the alberque in Larrasoaña, which hadn't changed at all. It was just as charming and comfortable as last time and by that I mean not at all. One couple paid for their beds, had a look at the dormitory, then sold their bed tickets to other naive pilgrims still waiting in line and decided to keep walking. Like last time too was no toilet paper. Honestly, in our alberque in Estella "there will be toilet paper"! We did have a good night though as the four of us choose the only four bunk beds on the main floor foyer - right in the path of the bathrooms but while we had to deal with the nightly flip-flopping and flashlights of those making a midnight trip to the bathroom, we didn´t have to deal with the cacophony of snores and snorts resounding in the crowded upper dorm.

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