Today wasn’t as sunny as yesterday but that was just as well as the route de Napoleon (closed in winter) really is a climb over the Pyrenees. I’m so glad I’d made the decision to overnight in Orisson (elevation 900m) as there was still another 600m of climbing today. It was a bit less steep but went on longer.
I walked most of the day with Marina from the Netherlands. She had set off earlier than me but the pilgrim she was with (from South Africa) wanted to walk faster … and even though she’s much taller than me we found out we walk at similar paces. I’m slightly faster uphill (and glad to stop to catch my breath at key moments; but we noticed on the descents that she’s then faster than me. I go more carefully downhill. I want to preserve my knees as much as possible …and it was hiking downhill in Tenerife three years ago that I slipped and broke my rib, so that’s made me respect the descents more.
We stopped twice on the way today … at a food truck half way up the ascent and again at the emergency mountain hut where we ate our sandwiches. The views were beautiful but it was very windy near the summit so we didn’t hang around for long!
The walk into Roncesvalles from the Spanish summit, Col de Lepoeder, was a long steep descent of 4km and very hard going. But we made it!
Roncesvalles is an amazing place!
The albergue (pilgrims’ hostel) is in the monastery and I’d booked my bed in advance as it can be hard to get in if you arrive late. As it was Marina and I walked into Roncesvalles before 1:30pm, so she easily got a bed too.
What was really amazing was the wonderful high standard of the accommodation there as in recent years they’d renovated the dorms so tiny ‘rooms’ are formed from two purpose built bunks, each with a lockable locker and electricity point. The mattresses were comfy and I’m getting used to the funny long pillows too!
The monastery arranges pilgrims menus in the two restaurants and the hotel. We were allocated Sevilla and it turned out our friends Monica and Heather (from Canada) were at the same place and time as us so our little Camino family were able to sit together.
The food was marvellous, the best on the Camino so far (cost 10€ including wine). I chose pasta, trout and ice cream and the local wine was delicious!
Total walked today: 24km