Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Friday, May 30, 2008

Walking along the ridges of the Pyrenees

A gorgeous day of sunshine! We walked from Roncevalles to Zubiri, about 13 miles. It was still uphill and down, in the mountains, although we got over the peak the day before. So beautiful, being on a ridge and looking over at the tops of the other ridges, right at our level.

Tonight we have a fourth floor walk up room, shared bath. But only 27 euros :) The auberges are 60 bunk beds to a room, for 5 euros. Not brave enough!

Click on the links to hear what we were thinking as we found our 4th floor walk-up and closed restaurant.
Zubiri May 30th 4th floor walk up, restaurant closed

Now we are having a beer and talking to the other pilgrims. This is a great experience. On to Pamplona tomorrow.

The photos show:
  • Russ crossing the medieval bridge that led us into Zubiri
  • A crowd of pilgrims gathered at a breakfast spot a few miles after we left Roncesvalles
  • Several views from along the ridge-top trail between Roncesvalles and Zubiri

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Over the Pyrenees and into Roncesvalles, no rain!

A wonderful morning, again. We started with breakfast at the casa rural and then hit the road about 8:30. The sun shone on us as we climbed, and climbed, and climbed. We climbed about a half mile in about 7 miles. At the top reaching the point where Roland failed to sound his oliphant and recall the army to save him before he was mortally wounded.

By the time we got there we were pretty tired, but the vistas were spectacular and we loved it all. At the top it was windy and we donned our jackets for the descent into Roncesvalles...only about a mile and 300 ft less elevation.

Click on the "reports" to hear real time voice recordings of our thoughts.

Report 1: Arriving in Roncesvalles, the start of the Spanish part of Camino, May 29th

We are staying in a renovated monastery...monks never had it so good.os at mass at 8:00. This is totally cool.

This town has 20 inhabitants and hundreds of peregrinos...especially on bike here for some reason.

All is well for today...about 14 miles to hike tomorrow.

Report 2: Leaving Roncesvalles, May 30th

Report 3: The Pilgrim Dinner and Mass in Roncesvalles (recorded on the trail to Zubiri, May 30th)

The photos (not in order because I cannot make them stay in the order I put them in) show:
  • a foggy morning in the Pyrenees
  • a clear view of a craggy mountain top
  • a hazy view back down to a town we climbed past
  • a couple of views along our dry! trail today
  • cold, tired, wind-blown hiker at Roland's Pass
  • kids building a monastery out of styrofoam rocks on a field trip in Roncesvalles
  • the hallway in our 'monastery' and a corner of our living room
  • the old hospital, turned gite d'etape, where the ward had bunks for about 100 pilgrims

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Saint Jean Pied de Port, The Rain Stopped, Glorious Walk to Valcarlos in the Pyrenees

The train ride up from Moissac was rainy and very interesting. We sat with Irish pilgrims who walked the trail all the way in Spain a few years ago and continue to walk alternate routes. The train from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port was packed with pulgrims...every seat. the rain slacked to drizzle about when we arrived. What a quaint town! Basque architecture...all white washed buildings with red roofs. No more fieldstone walls. It is a walled city with cobblestone streets...Russ does not like how they treat his feet, but they sure make it look old and fun.

Had a good Basque dinner and a good night´s sleep, although not where we expected because they´d overbooked. But they found us a great place. No complaints from us at all!

This morning, it was Not Raining! Glorious start to the walk over the Pyrenees. It was not even cold. We shed our jackets after a mile or so. The hills are covered with patches of forest, prosperous looking farms, sheep, streams, wildflowers. The parts where we walked along the road had light traffic. We stayed off the trails that were more mud, please.

We arrived in little Valcarlos between noon and one. Our inn is on the side of a ravine and as totally cozy as it is pictoresque. We walked into town and Russ used his Spanish to ask a lady at the church where to find glue to fix his boot. She took us to a store and helped us find the glue. Back at the inn, he sewed his boot together with dental floss and covered it with the new glue. The Camino is about leaving your old ways behind...maybe he will be a cobbler in the next life.

Now an afternoon of lolling around, an evening meal in a Basque restaurant on the square by the church, and breakfast at 8:00 at the inn before starting on the next 9 mile hike, to Roncesvalles...half the distance continues our climb over the mountains, and the other half starts us down. This is one of the prettiest places we have ever been.

Oh, and I love that in Spain they use qwerty keyboard :)

About the photos...I cannot get them to stop rearranging themselves at will. Therefore I will simply tell you what pictures I have posted and you can perhaps match up the descriptions with the photos.
  • Pilgrims on the train with us from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port
  • Pilgrims hiking from the train to the town
  • Russ and Peg, with belly packs covered by rain jackets, at the Pilgrim Welcome Center in Saint Jean Pied de Port
  • A main street of Saint Jean Pied de Port in the rain
  • Overview of Saint Jean Pied de Port from a hill above the town
  • The river running through Saint Jean Pied de Port
  • Russ on the bridge over the river
  • 3 pictures along the way to Valcarlos in the Pyrenees
  • Dogs following Russ along the route into the Pyrenees
  • A dog wishing it could follow us on the adventure
  • A little town we passed through on the way to Valcarlos
  • The altar in the Valcarlos church of Santiago. Note Santiago on his horse ready to kill the Moors, even though they did not come to Spain until centuries after his death
  • An overview of Valcarlos through the trees along the trail as we hike up and out of town in the morning
Lower in the post is a description of what we experienced this day and a set of real-time recordings.

Click on the links below to hear voice recordings of our thoughts, made in real time.

Report 1: Leaving Saint Jean Pied de Port and Starting up the trail into the Pyrenees
May 28th morning

Report 2: To Valcarlos, Halfway up the Pyrenees-Russ
May 28th afternoon

Report 3: About Saint Jean Pied de Port, the walk to Valcarlos, and being halfway up the Pyrenees-Peg
May 28th afternoon

Report 4: Leaving Valcarlos and Walking in the Pyrenees May 29

Monday, May 26, 2008

Montlauzun, Saint Martin, and Moissac; Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Soon after we left Escayrac, the rains began in earnest. The French call the kind of mud that we trudged through "la boue amoureuse" but we didn't love it even if it loved us!

The photos show the rainy skies over Montlauzun, which is not called "mont" for no reason!; a steep, waterlogged part of the trail; beautiful Montlauzun views both in the afternoon when we arrived and in the morning with the fog; Peg stuck in the mud in her blue rain gear and showing off her mud-caked shoes; Russ walking on the muddy trail with poppies matching his rain gear; an interesting building along the trail; the outside and the dining room of the place we stayed in Montlauzun; a wheat field; donkeys in the fog on our way to Saint Martin; the foggy morning view of the cross as we left Saint Martin, still in the rain; the cloister at Moissac; the blue door to our room at the funky chambre d'hotes in Moissac owned by an Irish couple with a teething baby; breakfast with the owners and other pilgrims in Moissac; and, Russ muddy boot with a big split where the upper leather separated from the Vibram sole.

The recordings follow our experiences in real time. Click on any of the links below to hear what we were thinking at the time.

Report 1-Montlauzun, Saturday May 24

Report 2-Montlauzun, Sunday May 25, 1

Report 3-A Snipet of the Montlauzun Church Service

Report 4-Saint Martin, More Rain, Sunday May 25

Report 5-Saint Martin, Monday morning May 26

Report 6-From the Trail, Monday May 26

Report 7-Moissac, Monday May 26

On the train to Saint Jean Pied de Port
Report 8-Tuesday May 27 morning

Report 9-Still on the train
Tuesday May 27 afternoon

Report 10-Demographics
May 27 evening

Report 11-Irish pilgrims, weather, shoe report
May 27, still

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lascabanes, Escayrac, and Montcuq

Getting internet connection has been much harder than expected. But we finally got on line in Montcuq and are able to post this note to say we are finding the experience fantastic, even when it rains as it is today. The whole experience is totally cool.

We have more recordings to post but no way to post them today...technical issues.(The recordings and photos in this post were edited in later.)

The photos show Russ at our lunch spot in Lascabanes, a couple of views from the lovely walk between L'Hospitalet and Escayrac, the main street of Escayrac, the living room of the place we stayed in Escayrac, as well as the outdoor kitchen where we had dinner and breakfast, the arrival of the bread truck, and the gathering clouds as we walked out of the lovely place on Saturday morning.

Click on any of the 4 links below to hear the voice recording it describes.

Friday noon May 23-Lunch on the trail in Lascabanes; Description of the pilgrim trail

The chambre d'hotes in Escayrac; The other pilgrims

Saturday morning May 24-Leaving Escayrac with rain threatening; Conversing with French pilgrims when you can't speak French

From the Trail and Montcuq, Saturday mid-day