Camino de Santiago Day Seven: Estella to Villamayor de Monjardin

6 04 2018

So last night Suzy found a nice Albergue where we could stay at the top of Monjardin and we opted to plan a more mellow route for our 7th day walking. Only about 6 miles. The body needs to rest on the 7th day and we have been hitting really big stretches, this is a marathon not a race, but I was initially disappointed. Feeling my body though I think it’s for the best.

We headed out of Estella and onto Bodegas Irache, a winery that has been providing wine for pilgrims since 1991. The wine (and water) fountain is conveniently located near the monastery so pilgrims can fill a little in their bottles and get the energy for their ascent and next leg of the journey. Before the fountain though do not miss the cool blacksmith, he makes exceptional art and pilgrim jewelry, I bought a tiny scallop necklace which is easily transportable.

we enjoyed our share from the fountain which pour red wine either at a healthy clip or a trickle. We were told it runs out eventually daily, but we had plenty. They have a webcam where you can watch pilgrims visit. The wine was light and low in tannin and deliciously fruity, a mix of cranberry and strawberry flavors.

We reconvened with the Irish girls Yvonne and Elaine and then toured the monastery and had a prayer in the chapel. Then it was on to our walk. We were intercepted by an eager Spaniard who wanted to offer us the recommendation that by going right we’d have an easier route than going straight over the hill to Los Arcos…

Not only did he start walking part way with us but he was super “gropey” and tried grabbing under our arms and “accidentally” brushing our boobs with his fingers. Probably harmless but a creeper. He tried to kiss my friend on the lips but we easily avoided him and he left us at the highway no doubt to turn around and molest a few more unsuspecting pilgrims.

When we stopped for a nibble and drink at bar Azketako in Azqueta we ran into Heather who we’d had dinner with last night, she too had a photo of the culprit so this is a thing… I posted something about it on a private Facebook page for fellow female pilgrims and was shocked by two things, first that about four others from various past years (back to 2016) had also seen and experienced this man’s behavior. Even more surprising, there were comments by some that I was illegally posting his photo without his permission and accusing him of bad things and that I was being unfair. Shocking really that type of response. At any rate that is why I’m not posting his photo. And I will say that I’ve not had any of the people featured in my blog sign release forms or any such thing. Anyway moving forward… I was told I should report him and thought well maybe that is extreme but I think I will. It’s unacceptable and if I’d been alone it may have been more difficult to thwart his greedy hands. I’ve been told since that it’s important to be very forceful with the men that you may encounter.

At any rate we enjoyed our chicken wings and a delicious grilled ham and cheese and relaxed in the sun at the bar before making our slow roll up the hill. We are staying in a very clean and comfortable Albergue in the heart of town, 12 bunk beds in a room so a bit packed with only one shower and bathroom but very nice. Dinner was up the hill at the bar Ilurria where Asier the bartender, chef, server and owner was incredibly hospitable and the 12 Euro pilgrim menu was great.

Tomorrow we will try to get back in schedule with a bigger day to Torres del Rio and then to Logrono the next day.

All in all a pleasant leg, but rain is expected tomorrow and we have heard from fellow pilgrims that snow is in the forecast for Burgos… just when we thought Spring was here!

Camino de Santiago Day Six: Puente de Reina to Estella

5 04 2018

Today seemed like a much more manageable day. We still had some long steep climbs but the difference may have been we had a huge breakfast at Hotel Jakue, meats, cheeses, fruits and juice, more than we’ve been having. It was cool but I opted for just a tshirt and puffy jacket and quickly warmed up. I felt really strong for the first few legs.

There was a leisurely warmup walk out of the town and I loved the retro look of this old car wash.

We followed a stretch of ancient Roman road that meandered across the countryside on a slow incline in most spots. There were also many more pilgrims around. Groups we knew and some we didn’t took turns leap-frogging past one another or dropping back. At a certain junction we came across a bell to ring for good vibes and some creative artwork.

Turns out that there’s a guy out there turning this small strip of land under a grove of olive trees into a pilgrim rest stop! I found that today I was able to manifest the beer I’d been craving because he had a selection of beer, red wine and snacks just there to take and offer whatever donation you thought fair. We loved sitting there to catch our breath, checked out the book library where you could take or leave a book, and listened to the peal of the bell to signify another set of pilgrims was arriving.

We hated to leave but we have places to go so we said goodbye and headed onward.

The route was mostly flat winding through more towns a bit more Roman road and almond orchards in bloom a-buzz with bees. I’m not going to lie the last hour or so of the walk were long, during the “Are we there yet” part my heel bones felt like they were going to pierce through my heels. It was hot and I got a sunburn on my arm, not terrible but itchy enough later in the day! But we made it into Estella up and over a very steep bridge and to the Hostel Agora.

Hostel Agora is super hipster and chic, established in 2016 it was impeccably clean and had little bunks like the hostel in Pamplona but the showers were really nice with huge shower heads and it was very comfortable. Despite my aching feet, not blistered but more from the constant footfalls, I headed into town to find a beer and a bite and ran into Heino and Claudia two German pilgrims traveling separately but pilgrim buddies at Bar El Che. I grabbed a big plate of boquerones and soaked up the garlicky oil with bread. There were a whole lot of pilgrims in town from our initial group and another few groups so we opted to go to a little fusion place called Mundo where we got the pilgrim menu, mine was chicken with fried rice, good food. We went back to El Che for another glass of wine and then hit the bed and although I thought I’d do a little reading, gather my things and organize I was asleep almost immediately. The physical effort of this is intense. Today we are going to make an easier trip of it and only go to the top of a big peak and stay up there to break up the trip a bit and give our bodies a little rest.

I’m sad to report that this morning I got the news about my friend Jane’s niece Laura. I was walking with her photo and sadly she passed away. I’ll still be walking with her photo and sending a lot of love and prayers to her son Nico and her family.

Camino de Santiago Day Five: Pamplona to Puente la Reina

4 04 2018

Walk the Camino they said, it’ll be great they said…

Today was all about self doubt and wonder.

So luckily Suzy got money issues sorted yesterday but not without a crazy amount of effort. She ultimately had to get currency exchanged at a hotel and the ordeal included begging for a ride, a bus trip and more. Terribly stressful, but she sweetly got me a Kukuxumusu shirt for a gift once she was plush with cash and we had a fantastic dinner of tapas. Alistair had shown up at our Albergue as well so we hung out and drank some wine.

I somehow was able to climb to the bunk up the crazy ladder and fall asleep fully clothed atop all my crap from my pack. I was comfy but it was warm. The rustling of packs and bags and not so muffled noises of the other 19 bodies woke me a bit, but I was able to sleep until about 7. After a little tea and some repacking and backpack adjustment we bid adieu to Alistair, Ken and Allen who’d decided to spend an extra day in Pamplona to recuperate.

Today’s “walk” once again no joke.

We headed out and stopped at an adorable cafe for a cream puff and a coffee. The place was killer and even let us try their local not very sweet cinnamon pastry. Then it was off onto the route. We meandered through the city streets of Pamplona and started a slow ascent up up up and up up up across the valley and some farmland. Huge boulders in the field and on the path made it important to keep your feet moving and lift them up with every step and honestly I felt like I was wearing cement shoes. We used the amazing view as a good excuse to stop and catch our breath.

We stopped in a small town, Zariquiegui, just before the last steep rise to Alto de Perdon. Our legs were wobbly and we were starving so the super hot chicken soup and pork cutlets were so delicious and nourishing, and they gave us a full bottle of wine, 11 Euro. After lunch it was back to the route and we saw it had started raining. This part of the ascent is very steep and just covered in what I as a resident of Nantucket would call cobblestones. Every single step on the wet rocks had to be measured but we kept going and eventually made it to the top where there is an exhilarating view! This is also where there is a depiction of pilgrims on the crest of the hill and you are all the way up near the windmills.

After such an accomplishment we relished the moment and then we came across the grim realization that we had to go all the way back down the other side, a similarly steep grade just absolutely covered in cobbles. Luckily the rain had stopped. And luckily we only had some of that wine because the descent was treacherous. Be very careful here or you could twist an ankle.

Honestly all day yesterday I asked myself why I’m doing this. And my answer is waiting out there somewhere in the ether. It seemed the further we went we still made no headway. We passed through town after town which still wasn’t where we were staying.

We found a statue of the Virgen Mary and sat there and had some chocolate to lift our spirits and out of nowhere a flock of hawks probably about 8 of them circled above us, we joked that they were vultures circling because we looked so dead tired… but they were amazing. It was like they were performing for us. Then they flew off.

The rest of the walk super uneventful, tedious even and it seemed to go on forever, but we made it to Puente la Reina and enjoyed dinner with a new “pod” of pilgrims that already knew each other… it was great. We stayed at the Hotel Jakue which had great food and a nice buffet. Til tomorrow.

Camino de Santiago Day Four: Larrasoana to Pamplona

4 04 2018

The rest of last night was so fun. It was our first night staying in a Casa Rural dorm and we had the chance to really connect with other pilgrims. The Korean group had also been at Encinal, then there were some Canadians, a French woman, a German man, Australians, and one from Great Britain. The group was very friendly and convivial and when Suzy broke out her travel guitar they seemed to enjoy it, we each played a few songs out on the deck waiting for dinner. We enjoyed talking to Charlotte from France who is on a very long Camino in stages. She’s already done three from Le Puy in France three separate times. This is her fourth leg and she hopes to complete the route in two more stages. It just goes to show the commitment some have to finishing the walk despite the constraints of work.

Fellow pilgrim Alistair gave me the tip that the supermarket next door would be open til 7 and that the owner Angel has a wine he will pour for you while you shop, it’s his house wine made by a small Rioja producer and was delicious. Alistair in the couple hours he was in Larrasoana had become a very good customer of Angel’s and thus got him to put Janis Joplin on the turntable at this adorable shop. The wine was really great, a crown a style but. O label for 4,35 Euro so I bought one to share with the group.

Dinner was fabulous. Since Monday was the last day of the Semana Santa holiday and the town was quite small we opted to eat the communal meal at the Albergue St. Nicolas. It was a delicious soup with white asparagus, artichokes and greens followed by breaded pork cutlets with piquillo peppers, basically the local and deliciously sweet red peppers drenched in olive oil and sweet melt in your mouth garlic. They also had a cheesecake and a bottle of wine for the six at the table, then Alistair and I opened ours and we had a little sing along. It wasn’t very long though as it was soon almost 10pm which is lights out. Good thing because check out is 8am!

The scene at this hostel was good, a sort of entry level group living experience, but I’m not really familiar with this type of travel so I think it will take getting used to it. My phone wouldn’t reach my perch in the top bunk so I was stuck up there without any light and I woke up a few times disoriented as it was so so dark. I felt a bit stranded way up there not knowing what time it was but my phone had to charge up overnight. In the morning with my contacts out and in the pitch black it was too dangerous to jump down from the bunk so once again I just lay there wondering what time it was for a few hours. There were lockers for our packs but I seemed to be a little disorganized this morning and my bag was packed off balance, luckily it wasn’t a long walk. On the good side I was so thankful for my travel towel which dried super fast. They had disposable sheets for sale but I had my handy silk sleep sack which was perfect and warm enough that my down blanket was really more like a security blanket, I was warm enough. The sleep sack was also perfect for covering my head so it didn’t need to rest on the plastic covered pillow or mattress.

We headed out on the early side going to find some breakfast coming from our corner of town towards the center and encountered two pilgrims coming from the route to find a coffee but to no avail. I even asked a local and there’s no coffee or breakfast in town unless Angel for some reason decided to get up early.

So off it was without coffee or breakfast. The walk was pretty much the same, still up through quaint villages and farmlands where the grass was the most verdant shade of green. We neared a bridge at Zuriain and like an oasis a cafe appeared. As pilgrims crossed many descended upon the cafe, almost like an apres ski scene in Tahoe without the snow…poles were perched, packs were dropped. I got a jamon (not our jam like prosciutto) sandwich and a cafe con leche. This was the first REALLY great bread I found on the trip. Super crispy crackly on the outside so much so that I was covered in breadcrumbs by the time I devoured the sandwich. I’m thinking I need to be eating more than I’m used to… we enjoyed a leisurely time watching other pilgrims roll in and out and a small striped kitten entertaining everyone by toying with the straps of all the backpacks.

Soon it was off again. While today was supposed to be “easy” it seemed we were a bit slow, which is fine. We piggybacked other pilgrims many times, I think because we had trouble with our rhythm. Suzy had to adjust her shoe due to a pebble or dried mud inside and thankfully since my pack was shifty and pulling at me from my left side. Two adjustments and it still just wasn’t perfect. We took extra time baffled by a conga line of caterpillars that we learned are a totally nuisance and very bad news if you touch them. They release their spines into your skin and cause an allergic reaction. My feet are still ok but today after the climbs we suddenly descended on pavement into the medieval town of Arre and from that point forward it was completely flat… and really the first city sidewalk since Barcelona. I never thought I’d say I preferred the steeps but the arches of my feet felt like they were collapsing. I’d worn thinner socks as a test and I really prefer my extra padded Smartwool socks that filled my boot more.

Well, be careful of your intentions out here in this land because just as I was pining for a small incline we hit the steep ascent in and past the moat and town walls of Pamplona. Luckily the hostel was very close to the walls of the city and they were super friendly. It’s the Albergue Pamplona-Iruna and is a few rows of coed bunks. Each had a curtain for privacy and it looks like what I’d think a tour bus setup would look like. Of course me being younger got the top bunk but it’s hard to get up there. They give you a disposable sheet to put on the bed and I struggled to get the thing on while sitting on it, there was no where to perch to get it on. I’m glad to have my silk liner. I need to make sure I don’t roll around as it’s not like a bunk, there’s no ledge to prevent you from rolling off if you move in your sleep.

Suzy was excited to be in a bigger city so although we were totally exhausted we headed out in search of a place to exchange dollars to Euros. Apparently on the EU they no longer do that at banks… and they don’t take American Express much in Spain either we heard… she tried two places today that said they exchange but it wasn’t true, this was the first chance she had too because we were in small towns AND it was the holiday. She went off in search of an exchange and I went to eat because I was having a serious food low and needed to eat, had some rose and Padron peppers, some boquerones (the deliciously subtly garlic and vinegar flavored Spanish sardines) and I became human again. Suzy is now trying to exchange money at a hotel nearby… we are praying. The issue is her debit and credit cards (and some cash) were pick pocketed in Barcelona so she can’t access her accounts. Super stressful, so have a backup plan just in case.

Heading back to the hostel soon, my body and brain are tired and feel fuzzy, from walking and a few glasses of wine. Today was no less intense I think because the body is confused and the mind is overstimulated and the adrenaline of the first few days has run its course leaving me on a little low. I’m not unhappy but if this blog is going to be honest then there you go. I’m tired in many ways, my nerves are frayed, the work issues I thought were tied up aren’t and I’ve found that my super comfy Crocs sandals are not compatible with the slick wet streets of Pamplona. Yes, it has started to rain and so the future is unsure but we will make it happen, and I do have to say I’m so thankful for all of you who are reading. It fulfills me and gives me extra energy. Thank you.

It means the world!

If anyone has a few extra dollars you’re wanting to throw around you can buy me a beer ;).

Camino de Santiago Day Three: Espinal to Larrasaona

3 04 2018

I expected today to be easy in comparison to yesterday but I’m learning quickly that The Camino de Santiago is never really what you’d expect. My body felt surprisingly good today, no sore spots, feet are perfect, I’m in love with them. I’m happy to report that they’re still 100% right now. Hips a bit sore where they support the pack but I was told that’s to be expected.

We headed out after a light breakfast and were immediately on an uphill slope once more! We rose above the valley once again feeling the muscles re-engage from yesterday. The day was warmer than yesterday, but with a little less direct sun. I was wearing less layers which was nice because i was warm very soon.

And so what goes up must come down so after our crazy ascent yesterday and today too it was downhill, but this was no walk in the park. There were evil stairs, scree and then the worst very slippery thick gray clay, once it was on your boots you’d slide around the next stone you stepped on. Every step needed to be measured which was mentally exhausting. You also had to be vigilant with the poles and not overextend your knees! There was even another river crossing!

I tried to distract myself with the small wildflowers.

Today we are staying at the Albergue St. Nicolas, shared rooms four per room in bunk beds, divided (at least ours, between men and women. The bathrooms/showers here are not co-ed and you have plenty of space to dress in there and it’s super clean. I seem to have lost my conditioner, shampoo and body wash but luckily Suzy brought me a bar of Argan soap which is great. Now we are hanging outside with pilgrims from Korea and Toronto. Suzy broke out the guitar and we enjoyed some beers

So thankful for my feet today, they took a beating and no blisters. I was amazed by how they moved in my shoe and took the brunt of every step clinging to the trail. Every muscle in my foot and ankles was used to keep my footing down the slopes! Tomorrow we have an easy three hour walk to Pamplona! It’s like a day off. Today according to my iPhone app was 12.3 miles, 83 floors, 30,078 steps although Suzy’s says we walked more than that… we did about 4 hours in the first leg then about 1:45 for the last part. Hasta manana!

Camino de Santiago Day Two: Valcarlos to Espinal

1 04 2018

Photo by Suzy Cameleon

I cannot believe this intense feeling of exhilaration I feel right now.  We have crossed the Pyrenees and a waterfall!

While yesterday was about variable weather today was more about incredibly variable terrain.  The weather today was just stunning, bright sun and although it started out cold, around 35, warmed up in places to the mid 50s F.  We left Valcarlos a little late, 8:50, they suggested we try to leave on he early side as there would be some Easter celebration traffic and we soon found they were right.  The first part of the route went through Valcarlos and then soon deposited us onto the highway.  The traffic got more frequent as we walked but I cannot imagine what tourist season would be like with lots of traffic because there are no sidewalks and you’re basically walking right on the highway.  At one point we saw what looked like black slugs or maybe leeches in the grass, there’s been so much rain that there are little rivers flowing down the side of the road and it’s very wet.  The road is a challenging part because you must be ever vigilant to try to be on the side of the road with the most clearance and sometimes have to cross to prevent being behind a blind curve.  For many stretches you’re literally on the white line at the edge of the lane.  Up up up!  Around lots of switchbacks.

We were relieved when this stretch ended and the guideposts pointed left and we went down to the river and past a pretty house.  Then it was up a somewhat steep grade on terrain that was basically wet fractured slate and rock with vegetation and wet leaves all over it.  Getting a foothold was challenging and I was so grateful to have my poles.  The area is also narrow and a bit scary for me at least.  I did enjoy the lush scenery, it was very serene with mossy trees and the sound of the swift rushing water was musical rather than the whizzing of cars in our ears.  Little bridges cross the river in places and it seems like gnomes and fairies are watching from the mossy tree stumps.  And it was mostly uphill!

After another short stint on the road we were again on a hill with a steep drop off, it was a drier type of vegetation with lots of spiky vines and plants that it you’re not careful can get through your pants and scratch you.  Meanwhile the path is super narrow and scary and in one place had washed away so we had to climb past some of those spiky plants to get around.  Then there were patches of slippery mud.  And still up, up, up…

After awhile we turned a corner to hit another forest with more shade and less scrub and a beautiful wide leaf strewn path, still tons of mud but less stressful to navigate.  As we kept going up up up we started to see snow on the ground and large moss-covered trees knocked over by storms.  When looking up it appeared we were getting very close to the peak which was good because our hearts were pounding and our legs were burning.  We tried to sing a few spirituals from Oh Brother Where Art Though to get us to the top of the mountain both mentally and physically (sometimes singing helps me remember to breathe).

As we got to the top of the forest I could hear cars again and as we rounded the back of a tile roofed farmhouse to our astonishment we saw that it wasn’t the top of the mountain, not even close.  Just a little bit of road walking and there was a fountain and a stone bench to sit on.

We took a little rest and caught our breath. I think both of us were wondering how much further it could be. The next leg of the path looked inviting though and so we plodded onward, and up, up, up! We were it in what seemed like a conifer forest with snow on either side of the path, then eventually slush all over the path, then full snow, about 4 inches covered the path making a distinct squish squish squish noise as we rose even further over the valley. We could now see the house by the road was way below us. We soon heard the loud rushing water and saw a waterfall in front of us with a steep ravine to our left… no bridge here just determination and secure footing could get us across, I was unsure of myself since there had been so much snow and rain and I have an intense fear of falling and the water was really rushing but I made it.

Finally we came to the top, oh wait nope another hill but the end was in sight, at the top of the stairs.

We were finally at Ibaneta, a little snowy peak where kids were sledding. After an informal prayer with our own bread and wine we began our descent. A tour group who had no idea what we’d just been through had just been dropped to make the descent into Roncevalles with us and were navigating the slick and snowy muck. I was struck by their varying levels of abilities and a tear came to my eye as I watched them struggle, thinking how my fear almost got the best of me many times today, and they were experiencing their own fear on this stretch as well. They had made a commitment to walk the Camino in whatever was they could.

It was a relief to get to Roncevalles where we got our credentials stamped and stopped for lunch and wine, the pilgrim menu was delicious at Casa Sabina 10 Euro for two courses, coffee and wine. We said hi to some ponies and took the requisite photo with the sign… 790 km to go.

It was onwards towards Espinal our stop for the night. The next leg was thankfully though very muddy and the forest was full of holly trees. We learned that the Sorginaritz forest translates into Oakwood of Witches, it was where many covens were said to congregate. It leads to the town of Burgete where nine of these witches were burned in the square to persecute them for their. Non-Christian beliefs and pagan practices.

Past Burgete is farmland with grazing horses, sheep and cattle and a view from where we came. We took it slow enjoying the flat wide farm path and the various animals.

just when we thought we were home free another hill loomed and we chanted “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” to muster our strength up the last steep incline.

And we reached Espinal and walked to our Albergues Irugoiena just in the outskirts of town. What a day. The albergue has both dorms 10, 5 we opted to get a double room for 22,5 Euros. Everything was closed as it was Easter Sunday but we had a great dinner made by Luis who does everything at the albergue 6am to 9pm for six full months every single day! Then he has six months off to enjoy hiking the snowy peaks here. We slept comfortably and happily and this morning had a nice breakfast and now it’s off on another journey!

Camino de Santiago Day One: St. Jean Pied de Port to Valcarlos 

31 03 2018

Phew, we arrived in Valcarlos after an intense hike from St. Jean Pied de Port, 3 hours and 20 minutes only stopping twice for some water. The route took us out the gate of SJPP and through lots of farmland and then forest. Most of it was backcountry roads but one short stretch was right on the muddy grassy shoulder of the main highway. When we began it was hailing and dumping rain and then it would clear up a bit before dumping on us again. We passed farms where sheep grazed and pigs made love, amazing magnolias and forsythia in bloom, wild violets and mountain peaks covered with snow.  The farms provided a soundtrack of braying cows and chattering chickens and we would get wafts of the smells of fertile soil, and the various manures of the animals, each one distinctly different, and not entirely unpleasant. Gotta say I was pretty excited to finally witness the male pig’s unique corkscrew anatomy that I’d been warned of by college roommates including Robin Hopwood and Deb Stull. As I took some racy porcine video footage Suzy, my walking companion, was worried I was at the gateway to producing animal porn, but it’s just nature folks.

 The Valcarlos route was pretty empty, no doubt because most pilgrims started early in order to make it to Roncevalles. It winds around the river and bounces back and forth along the border of France and Spain. We opted to go for a short route…  according to my iPhone approximately 8.5 miles, 56 flights of stairs.  We figured we’d rather take it easy on day one due to potential gear, weather and other  issues such as difficulty finding accommodation on Easter weekend in Roncevalles. 

 I’m glad we did, at the end of our journey we had to descend all the way to the river and then back up to the town of Valcarlos.  The slope was a ridged pavement covered in leaves.  It was incredibly slippery from the rain and wet leaves and steep! I was so grateful for my poles and even leaning all the way over into the grade found myself almost slip twice. Seconds after we reached Valcarlos and entered our apartment at Apartamentos Mendiola the ominous cloud that was behind us reached the town and from our spacious kitchenette we watched a ridiculous hailstorm. 

After it was done the sun came back now it’s outing again the fourth time in a crazy cycle. I ditched my boots and socks and put on some Crocs at the apartment and went for a bite at Ardanegia, a cafe with their own wine. I got some hot fried gambas and French fries. This place has a vibe like a Spanish Big Sur, the cute cafe is attached to a grocery store and teeming with locals and lots of tourists in Camino gear.  I was so glad we didn’t have a full breakfast this morning or stop for lunch in Arneguy, nothing looked open anyway…We would have gotten stuck, and thank goodness weren’t on the way to Roncebvales with each of the squalls rolling through it would Have been totally miserable. After a few naps helped by the patter of more rain we headed back up to Ardanegia as our host told us if a celebration that was to happen on the eve of Easter with dancing and some special food.  As we enjoyed beers and watching all the locals it became clear that the fete was cancelled due to weather but we got our Valcarlos stamps at the grocery and headed out into the town to see two men on horseback riding down the middle of the highway.  They implored us to stay for the festival the following day.  Around the comer from the church we saw the large gathering and joined in buying more beers and the local special food for the event which was a tortilla like wrap with bacon, chorizo sausage , cheese or Nutella.  Delicious and only 3 Euro or 3,5 for two items.

Back to the grocer for snacks for day two and back to our apartment with the luxury of gathering our clean clothing!

Day One in the books, and feeling strong for the next leg to Espinal since Roncevalles was booked solid.  Happy Easter!