Day 2: Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña

Post by Lindsay, photo by Lauren. 

Waking up in Roncesvalles was hard. The lights flipped on at 6am, and everyone jumped out of bed, checking their packs, getting ready to leave.

I snuggled further into my sleeping liner and closed my eyes for another 10 minutes.

We had set up walking with Michael, a French Canadian currently living in San Francisco, and Connie, a woman from Holland, the night before. We were supposed to meet outside the alburgue at 7am. We got there, and they were nowhere to be found. So we started walking to Burguete, where the nearest store and cafe was located.

The woods on the way to Burguete were gorgeous. They looked like a forest out of a fairy tale. As we entered the town, we saw a large stone cross at the edge of the woods and a sign. The sign explained how the forest is known as "The Oakwood of the Witches", because one of the highest concentration of covens in all of Spain used to meet there hundreds of years ago. The cross was put there by villagers in the belief that it would keep witches from hurting the village.

Before we walked into Burguete's market, we saw Michael outside, eating bread. "You didn't wait for us!" I called. He just smiled and waved. I told him we were going to buy breakfast. He smiled and waved again.

We entered the market, and Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" started playing on the radio. Even though it was probably just strategic placement by the shop owner, who gets a lot of business from morning pilgrims, we couldn't help but laugh at the perfect timing. We loaded up on cheese, fruit, and baguettes, paid, and headed out the door.

Michael was already gone.

We ate at a picnic table (where a chicken walked around our feet looking for scraps) and headed on our way.

Today I kept pace with Ron, Christina, and Lauren as we ascended the mountains. The landscape grew more dense and wooded, with wild roses creating arbors over our path, the occasional stray cow staring us down as we walked by.

At lunch, we were finally able to talk with Michael and Connie. Connie shared her reason for walking the Camino, a reason she hadn't mentioned the day before: she was on the Camino carrying the ashes of her father, jazz musician Theo Loevendie, to leave at the end of the trail. Her father was very connected to mountains, she said. It seemed like a good place to bring him.

After lunch, we walked quickly to Zubiri, knowing we wanted to get a few interviews there.

In Zubiri, we met up with our friends from Norway and Texas (Tom and John) for an interview. Tom and John met when they both walked the Camino a few years before and discovered through conversation a deep, brotherly friendship. On that trip, Tom walked to deal with the grief of his wife's death. John walked because he was a homebody who rarely liked even going to other places in Texas, and wanted to prove to himself that he had courage. They've been planning this second trip for over a year now, excited to challenge themselves again and discover more about themselves.

From there, we walked to Larrasoaña, where we almost couldn't find a bed... But luckily, the last hostel had exactly four beds left. We made spaghetti in the microwave (Lauren turned out to be a barebones-cooking champ) and went to bed, planning on catching Michael to walk more of the journey with him tomorrow.