Somebody lied. Or else I honestly was not paying enough attention. I had (repeatedly) heard that Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles was the most difficult part of the entire Camino Frances and after that, the path was much easier. Visions of flat, smooth trails danced through my mind. For me, that conception could not have been more untrue. The trail continued to have relentless ups and rocky downs. I breathed deep yoga breaths. I cranked up the music on my iPhone and let it blast:
“And no one else has ever shown me how to see the world the way I see it now. Oh, I, I never saw blue like that before.” (Shawn Colvin)
The music combined with the incredible scenery (and the deep yoga breaths) created a full mind-body symphony that definitely helped to get me through more uphill, especially the vicious little climbs that tend to appear right before the town that you are desperately trying to reach. Why are so many Spanish towns built atop massive hills?? I know the answer. But still!!
That night we stayed at the Municipal Auberge in Larrasoana. 38 beds in one room, and rather tight quarters. This would have been fine if all of our roommates were hiking the Camino, and thus on the same early-to-bed, early-to-rise, schedule. Unfortunately not. Two guitar-carrying dudes stumbled in at 1:30 a.m. and very loudly tried to fit the exceedingly tight, disposable sheets onto the slippery, blue plastic mattresses. At six a.m., when all others were up and preparing for the day, the guitar dudes were quite grumpy about the light being switched on. “Shut your eyes, and then it will be dark” cooed Grace, a charming young Irish school teacher. We later spent three more nights sharing a room with Grace and her friends, Yvonne and Karen. For us, they became our Camino Angels. More on that later!
Albergue de Peregrinos Municipal de Larrasoana
Calle San Nicolas, Esterbar, Navarre
8 euros per bed
Fun little surprises along the way, like this…
and this, definitely helped get me through some of the more difficult legs of the journey!