02 Great…..Its Raining

Mountain weather is a lot like costal weather. Don’t bother to worry about it; it is going to change,

We are all required to be out of the Albergue by 8am after eating breakfast. Breakfast consists of baguette sliced in half, toasted with butter and jam. Nothing like a couple of hundred calories to prepare you the demands laying ahead. We’ll probably burn close to 6 or 7,000 calories.

The problem is today it is raining. This isn’t helpful.

Todays challenge consists of climbing the rest of the Pyrenees. Yesterday was about 30% of the total, leaving the remainder (70%) for today. The rest of the explanation is about half of the day’s roads are pavement, and the last half are mud.

So away we go.

Constant rain and whipping mountain winds remind me of the fleecy I want to purchase….unfortunately I don’t have it now. I am freezing. Of course I do not have gloves either and my hands are now raw. I’m starting to think I might be in a bit of trouble when I come to a little white truck selling hot chocolate, bananas, and a collection of quick and easy food stuff. A sign on the truck says:




I can’t perish within sight of today’s goal…..and press on.

The day is spent in solitary silence. I pause often to catch my breath and then have it taken away by the scenery. The silence is spectacular, and is only broken by the occasional bell attached to a cow, sheep, or horse. There are other times when you can hear 15 to 20 bells clanking away. It’s all very relaxing.

Random thoughts pour though my brain.

Hearing the bells reminds me in an obscure way of warning tracks when cars drive over them. You must have heard this. Typically you can hear a note presumably based on the speed of the car and the number of horizon lines cut in the he pavement. Now place lines cut in different densities. Cars and trucks can play musical notes when they drive over the grooves.

Another question I have pertains earthworm. These creature burrow through through dirt. What happens when they come to a rock…..how do they decide which way to turn?

When we left SJPdP we were advised in the Pilgrim office too not take the the final stage of the day under the trees. The tree route is shorter. Because of the rains the tree route was treacherous. The alternate and advised route is a cinder road and is only 500 metres longer than the tree route. My cautious nature wins out….down the road I go.

At the bottom of the road into Roncesvalles you open a gate and walk into an area with horses. The horses are unperturbed by your presence and all have bells around their necks. I thank them for their lack of concert and push on….that is until one my walking pole snaps. My brand new carbon fibre pole is rendered useless.

Poles are an essential item, securing your footing, increasing your speed, and preventing hands from swelling.  I am thinking I will wait to get a pair in Pamplona, two days from now.

Finally after starting the day at 8am I will arrive in Rocesvalles at 1:30 in the afternoon.

After checking into the main Albergue, a very nicely converted monastery, I received a lower bunk….

This monastery has 4 bunks in a group. And to my delight (insert sarcasm flag here) two of my bunk-mates are the Korean ladies from Orisson.

If it weren’t for bad luck…….