Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 2: Roncesvalles - Arre

Breakfast 6.30 AM, and I was ready. Outside there was a  morning fog, as it often is here in the morning. A joy filled my soul today. Where would the route lead me today? I felt rested and my legs had endured the great trek across the mountains. On the way out of Roncesvalles, I meet many other pilgrims who also were ready to go. Without having said a word to each other, we became a small fellowship finding the first yellow arrows together and before the group broke up after an hour. I noticed that people walk at different speeds. Some walk with long steps, others in small quick steps, while some are very slow and stop often to take pictures. I think that people have different speeds within them and I must try to find my speed. I can not walk the pilgrim walk after the same speed as everyone else. What is my speed?

I passed the villages Burguete / Aurtiz, Espinal / Aurizberri, Biscarreta / Gurendian, Lintzoain and reached Zibiri after 4 hours. This was an easy road to walk and I had in 4 hours covered almost 22 km. It gives a speed of just over 5 km / h. I do not know if it is fast or slow really. I think it was just the right speed for me today. The fog was gone within an hour this morning and I discovered a magnificent scenery. I drank from my water bottle while I went and ate some nuts. My plan for the day was to eat and stay in Zubiri. The name means the Basque town by the bridge. I walked over the bridge and discovered that the village is closed. How is it possible to close a village? I didn't see a soul. I found the town hall and there I found a large, colorful poster that I was able to interpret in a way. The city was closed because of Cherry Day. The village had a cherry festival today and everything was closed. I walked down the empty streets and found the pilgrim hostel which was closed. I had to laugh out loud. This was today's unexpected highlight. A closed village because of a cherry festival. How and where they celebrated it I did not find out. It could have been fun to have experienced it with them, but there was no one to see. On the way out of town, I heard someone singing Spanish folk songs in a bar. The only place that apparently was opened today. I poked my head in and saw my two Spanish soldier friends who were, quite drunk, alone at the bar and singing. They waved to me but were very concerned about their beer mugs. They had reached their goal for the trip and had no intention of walking a single step further. I said Bon Camino (Good Travel) to them and went out of the town, found the trail and began to move on. It was a good piece to the next village Zuriain, but when I first arrived there I went on to the village called Arre. I had then traveled nearly 40 km and walked twice as far as I had planned. I was so engrossed with flowers, streams, and butterflies that I had lost the concept of time. I just walked and was in "the moment". It was a day of many sensations for all my senses.

In Arre, I found a monastery, a real monastery. The monks lived in the 2nd and 3 floor and the pilgrims spent the night in a side building in the convent garden. Here there was room for 10 people in a dormitory. Price: 3 euros. Simple, but very evocative. There was a shower, drying room for wet clothes, and cooking plate. Outside was a lovely garden where I could wash my clothes and hang them to dry between the apple trees. Some chairs and tables were also in the garden. I washed my socks and underwear and hung it to dry. I had two shifts with socks and underwear with me, which meant that I washed them every day. This became a good and welcome routine at the end of each day. And a routine I saw that most people did.I got to know three othe pilgrims around a table in the garden and we decided to eat dinner together. We found a dining house for pilgrims which was driven by the municipality in an abandoned school. There were already 20 pilgrims there. We had soup for a starter, chicken with French fries for the main course and ice cream for dessert, and a whole bottle of village wine. Price? 5 euros. It was a nice end to a long day of walking.

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