Roncesvalles to Larrosoana, to Pamplona, and a list of ailments.

So it turns out that the fancy face sunscreen I brought with me expired at the end of 2011, resulting in a slight sunburn from being out for 7+ hours a day.It also turns out that, despite popular belief, walking downhill is way worse than uphill. My knees are really hurting today, resulting in cutting my walk short and only doing 14k today. Roncesvalles was lovely and refreshing after such a trek through the mountain pass. I attended mass for the pilgrims, which was in Spanish, but still a really lovely way to start out the trip, and had dinner with a sweet crew. We were served potato soup and fried trout. (Served whole) and a bottle of wine to share. Early Sunday morning we were all woken up by Spanish minstrel music, which seemed oddly fitting, being such an ancient pilgrimage. My little walking troupe stopped about an hour in at a little cafe for cortados and piping hot croissants, and some sort of pastry that was stuffed with prosciutto (which I've had with every meal since) and cheese. We walked through a lot of farm land yesterday, with rolling hills and a lot more downhill than up leaving the Pyrenees. We went on a little further than most of the group and stayed in Larrosoana, and after a glass of wine, joined a group that were unlucky on the quest for a bed who were camping out in a racket ball court. We had a picnic and shared a few bottles of wine and played guitar, and it was one of the best ways to spend an evening. It has been beautiful and very inspiring to talk to different pilgrims about their motivation for walking the camino. There is one absolutely lovely man from France who is in the military, and found his life to be negative and pessimistic, so he has already been walking for a month from central France to "surround himself with beautiful people and refresh his faith in the beauty of life." There is also the colorful Maurice who's life is a mess (his words not mine) and is trying to "rediscover what love means." I'm excited to see their journey and what they learn! We were in a more "rustic" hostel last night, close quarters to the snorers of the group and one couple who unfortunately were using rustling medical blankets (those tinfoil-like blankets they hand out at the end of marathons) that were quite noisy. Ear plugs and a sleeping mask are proving to be the best utilities I have with me! This morning was a little chilly and had some ominous clouds in the distance as we made our way to Pamplona. I walked for about an hour beside a river. It was so beautiful and refreshing. I was planning to walk about 27-30 k today but once I got to the very ancient and lovely city of Pamplona I decided to stay the night and rest my knees before they get to a point of no return. I am feeling renewed and encouraged every day and feeling like I'm worrying less about the technical aspects of the walk (despite the various aches that keep popping up) and feeling my mind shift more to deeper things. Tomorrow holds at least one huge hill, 800 meters up, and 30k of walking, but my pack is stocked with nuts and cured meat and I've already caved and bought a Milka bar for my sweet tooth. Many lovely thoughts and thankfulness sent your way. xo

Posted on April 22, 2013 and filed under from jess-.