The Road to Santiago.
Journal.
October 2 , 2002
Wednesday
Not an albergue.
  Not an albergue

Zubiri

Settling down in the shelter at Zubiri, I thought that after such a difficult day, surely I would sleep like a log. No way! My legs ached so much that I couldn't get comfortable in the small metal bunk bed. And my left hand cramped so badly that my index finger was hyper extended. I had to spend the night gripping my small flashlight tightly so that when the hand did cramp it would close in a normal position.

The evening had started out badly. When I started to take out my computer to write some notes, my roommates, a Dutch couple, immediately told me, in no uncertain words that the custom in albergues was that lights are out at 10:00 p.m. I guess I'll have to wait outside for my 11:00 call from home, I said. We were all glad when the call came early at 9:45.

At 6:00 a.m. my Dutch roommates jumped up and switched on the lights. Fortunately, it didn't take long before they were gone. At least they put out the lights before they left. I didn't get up until 7:30. The sun rises later in Spain than at home (and it stays lighter in the evening). At eight in the morning it's light outside but the street lights haven't turned off yet. It was 8:00 when the cleaning lady came to fold up the blankets and clean the room. Before I left, I copied down a profile of the topography posted in the shelter of the trail that I had just traversed. (Look for it on the web site.) If I had seen it before I started, I would have turned tail and taken the bus back to Pamplona. I guess God protects babies and fools.

9:00 am. It's only 5 K (3 miles) to Larrasoaña, but mis piernas estan como plomo (my legs are like lead), so I move not so fast. Other pilgrims constantly overtake me; I'm a little embarrassed but, hey, I'm still moving and my pack is heavy. I pass by an old man with a long thin, walking stick. He comments about the thickness of mine. I tell him that it's much better for un viejo (an old man) to lean on. He scoffs at me and said that I am chico (young).

 A view of a rock-strewn path including narrow path going up again.
I arrived at Larrasoaña at 12:30 noontime as tired as I had been the day before. Saw the German couple that I had met yesterday and asked them how they were doing. She had problems with her feet and he was having back problems because his pack was too heavy. They were looking for a post office to mail some things home. I thought of the same thing except that the only really heavy things are my computer and digital camera, and I certainly I wasn't going to part with them. I'll be on the road for six weeks more so I better hang on to them.

I waited at the hostel door for the hostler who showed up punctually at 1:30. He let me in and I grabbed a bunk in the corner next to the window. Went out to lunch and came back 45 minutes later to find three more pilgrims had come. Within the next hour and a half the place was full. It was a good thing I had a bed staked out. My room had seven double bunks. Upstairs on the second floor there were bunks for another 26.
The albergue cost 5 euros, which left me with only 5 euros and a little change. Not enough to buy supper. So I dined on a pear, an orange, and some cheese that I had been carrying for just such an event. I shared some tea with two French women, a young French man, a young woman from Switzerland, and a Madrileno who spoke excellent French. Since the entire conversation was in French, I just sat there and smiled a lot and occasionally nodded my head.

The hostler was a very interesting man. Believe it or not his name was Santiago. He gave me his card: Santiago Zubiri Elizalde — Amigo del Camino de Santiago. It even listed his web address. His office was a mini museum with things on display about the camino. There were several signed guest books, photos and drawings/painting created by pilgrims who stayed at his albergue. He himself had taken the camino twice as evidenced by various articles and photos mounted on the walls.

Mañana me yoy a Pamplona. ¡Espero! Tomorrow I go to Pamplona. I hope!
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