We live to walk another day! Slept like a baby. I think everyone was so exhausted last night that none of us would even know if anybody snored. I have a slight stiffness in the legs, my feet underneath are somewhat bruised from walking on the uneven terrain all day and my shoulders are sensitive from my backpack, but otherwise I’m good to go.
I quickly pack up my belongings (which is becoming second nature) and we head off to breakfast at Casa Sabina. It is very dark outside and there is a slight chill in the air and we head inside for some warmth. Breakfast is no surprise – toast and jam, but at least a very decent cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice are included!
My body protests loudly the minute I put my backpack on, but I’m sure as soon as I’m warmed up things will improve. We’re off just as the sun sticks its head out.
The first town we encounter is Burguete which is really beautiful. The flowers are hanging in the window boxes and the water channel running alongside the road gives it such a peaceful atmosphere. We pop into a grocery store and buy a bit of fruit for the road. Fruit is quite cheap as far as lunch options go.
After this we head through farmland and eventually into forest again. We are still being serenaded by the ringing of the bells, but through the thick forest we cannot see the animals that are wearing them. The small towns are all so colourful. The geraniums spill over the flowerboxes and I love the fact that some of the houses have red painted windowsills to match the red flowers in the boxes!
We stop off at a little stream and decide to join the others in soaking our feet in the cool water. The heat is already as unbearable as it was yesterday and the back of my neck is taking a beating. The only thing the sunblock is soothing is my conscience. The water is lovely and cool and a real treat for tired and sore feet.
Upon leaving the river we meet up with Chris again, our roommate from St Jean de Pied. She is hobbling along and seems to be in a lot of pain. She did survive the Pyrenees, but is now suffering with a sore knee. There is not much we can offer to help but we do eventually convince her to stop in the next town, get someone to take a look at her knee and rest for a day before going further (she has no time constraint on walking the route, so better to take a day’s rest).
We stop for an early lunch in Vizcarette! The restaurant is the first thing you see upon entering the town and we share a very delicious piece of Spanish omelette. I love this little town and wish I could spend the rest of the day here.
We move along through more forest and for the fact that we are actually going downhill today there seems to be a lot of uphills. The road itself is just a bed of white pebbles which is not only very hard on our feet, but also reflects the sun back at us which makes it feel more like 40°C.
My friend, Trudy, is suffering even worse today and I think she is not drinking enough water and try to remind her constantly to do so. The going is very slow and I am getting somewhat concerned about where we are going to find a place to sleep tonight. The slower we go also means more time in the blistering sun and more time carrying our backpacks – by now mine feels more like 25kg.
We arrive in Zubiri just before 16:00. It is a beautiful town and I look down enviously at the caminoers cooling off in the river below us as we cross the bridge into town. Trudy sits down on the first steps she sees and I realize she will not go one step further. I start down the road to find us a place to sleep for the night. By the 4th Albergue (the Municipal Albergue) I am getting very despondent to find out that the last bed they had has just been taken by the woman in front of me. I was heading back despondently not knowing quite what to do when a Spanish guy we had supper with the previous night runs down the road, fetches me and explains that he had booked us a place. He had seen me at the Municipal Albergue, noticed my predicament and phoned around. With sign language and broken English he explains to me where to go. I was so grateful and could not believe that he had taken it upon himself without me even asking him for help. I then went back to fetch Trudy and we arrive at Suseia to ice cold water and the friendliest host. Once again the Camino has provided for us.
The last two beds are taken by two Italian cyclists who had ridden all the way from St Jean that morning and they look completely spent and just as grateful to find a place to sleep. Together we get booked in and taken upstairs to our cool, clean beds.
Tonight we only share the room with four others and the facilities are beautiful. We even have a little garden in the back where we can hang our washing, rest our feet on soft artificial grass and lounge back on a couch.
We meet up with Cathy, Beth and Kim from Canada who tells us that we have hit a luck as this place is known for the quality of the food and is rated one of the best on the Camino. We are just so blessed!
We also meet a Frenchman and his wife who has walked all the way from Le Puy and friends from Japan, but unfortunately they don’t speak any English.
Our meal proves to be as fabulous as was anticipated and it ended with chocolate mousse and home-made chocolate rum truffles!
Kim was so kind to phone and book us accommodation for our next night in Pamplona where they had already booked. Searching for a place to sleep every night could become quite stressful and Pamplona might be even busier than Zubiri. So, we’re very grateful that we are also sorted for tomorrow night!
As tired as I am, I battle to fall asleep and keep tossing and turning, maybe the heat …maybe I’m still a bit dehydrated or maybe the excitement…because tomorrow we’re off to Pamplona … a dream come true!