Camino Trip Notes: Stage 2 (Roncesvalles to Zubiri)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Distance: 21.2 km

6:45 – The angels are definitely not singing this morning.  I’m in a dorm with about 40 people, half of whom fiddled with backpacks and zippers and crinkled plastic bags until well pas 11:00 pm last night, and now they’re at it again.  I told myself before I went to sleep that if I’m in agony in the morning, I’d spend one more day in Roncesvalles.  I have small blisters on two toes and shins that feel like I’ve had a run in with Paulie Walnuts and his tire iron, but other than that I’m fine.  I will walk today.  It’s time to start Stage 2.

8:15 – They have limited settings for breakfast so rather than wait until 8:30 or later, I set out for Zubiri.  Azore and Scott, the father and son from Shediac are right behind me.


Over dinner last night I met Zane from Bendigo, Australia.  We got talking about careers and when I mentioned that I had been in the horse racing industry, he said that he has owned small shares of both thoroughbreds and standardbreds.   He currently owns 5% of a three-year-old named King of Rossa.  Just outside the albergue is a sign that most pilgrims pose with. 
After taking this photo, Zane told me the story of a contest that he entered two years a ago.  His name was one of 26 that were drawn and he was paired with a starter in the Melbourne Cup.  The horse he was paired with won the big race and as a grand prize, Zane got 5% ownership of another horse with all expenses paid for the first year.  His horse’s name is King of Rossa.

9:54 – We stop at a roadside cafe for chorizo sandwiches and café con leche.  


10:32 – Just 13.1km to Zubiri.  I’m trying try to enjoy the moment and not dwell on how much ground there is to cover before the next coffee, beer, bed, shower, etc. 


13:24 – I walk for a while with Tracy and Teresa – two middle-aged women from Wisconsin. One of them was born in Ontario and recently visited her nephew in Toronto.  She mentioned how much she loves downtown Toronto.  When I ask where her nephew lives, she says: “In 100-year-old row house near Queen and Bathurst.” I lived in a 100-year-old row house near Queen and Bathurst!  She cannot remember the actual street but it’s undoubtedly within a block or two of my old house.

 15:30 – It’s obvious that you meet all types of the people on the Camino.  Yesterday I chatted with some working-class Spaniards who do this every year.  Today I walked for a while with a husband and wife from Paris.  When one of the others in our group asked for Jean-Paul’s business card, he furnished one that read “Chairman of the Board of Directors, Deloitte CIS. ”

 16:36 – I was about 2km from Zubiri when a man jumped out of the bushes in front of me.  He was brandishing a large stick that he had apparently just broken off a tree.  I was startled, to say the least, but it turned out that he was a local guy out for a walk and he noticed a wild boar up ahead.  I’m not a fan of wild boars, especially in the springtime when there could be baby boars around, so we make a short detour through a wet field.

16:50 – There are two charming old albergues in Zubiri but both are full.  I settle for a bed at a newer but charmless hostel right in the middle of town.  The lady on the front desk agrees to do laundry for 6€.  This is not cheap but I’d love clean, dry clothes for the morning so I take her up on the offer.  With my long pants in the wash, I head to the local cafe in my shorts.  It’s damn cold!

21:00 – I return to the hostel to find my laundry nicely folded and sitting is on my bed.  Unfortunately the lady has left for the evening and I’m missing one pair of merino socks.  These won’t be easy to replace along the way so I’m down to two pairs of socks (three if you count a heavy pair that I really don’t like).

21:30 – Earlier today I passed three Spanish men who I guessed were brothers.  Two were in their 30s and not particularly fit and one was in his early 20s and very athletic looking.  The younger one had been pulling a shopping buggy through the mud and I wondered if he had a bad back and simply couldn’t carry a backpack.  Now I know the rest of the story.  He was  hauling his older brother’s CPAP machine.  It’s now humming away about one meter from my head and the middle brother is snoring so loudly that I’m concerned that plaster might fall off the ceiling.  I guess hauling two of those machines would be out of the question.


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