It was fun to just hang out in a beautiful town. I got my Spanish SIM card sorted for my phone, bought a new poncho since I tore my old one struggling through the bushes and went to the cathedral. I was resting my knee too. I checked in to the same hostel- the converted church. It is run by a charity that supports people withCerebral Palsy. I like the air, the spirit in here. Of course I lost my first Camino companions with whom I started but I will have dinner tonight with a nice lady from Florida who managed to get a spectacular blister that held her back a bit too. Here are some pics of the interior of the spectacular cathedral. At the tomb of the king and queen I note her faithful hounds at her feet and …. A lion at his!
It was better, much better than the day before. Not having anything to eat or drink until 11 am did not help but, boy did that spinach tortilla taste good when I finally got it. I was lucky go get a bed at one of the biggest albergues in Plampona and have decided to stay an extra day. I feel there is a lot to see here plus I want to get my telephone situation worked out. Had dinner with my Irish friends
Today it poured rain and I walked 22km over hill and dale and over a slippery bed of rocks. Horror! But I had 2 Irish angels who helped me by going fast and making jokes. We are in Zubiri now and off to Pamplona tomorrow. The lady who keeps the hotel put on her mask and kissed and hugged me. I have a double bed in a private room. Bliss!
Ah, the Camino Frances doesn’t let you in that easily. To set off in pouring rain is challenging. Oh well, only 8 km you think but that’s a lot of rain! The pass over the Mountains from France to Spain is split into two days for some modern pilgrims. Others do the whole 27 km in one day! Too much for me so I was happy to sleep at the fabled Orisson lodging. The bonus was that the second day of the trek was brilliantly sunny and the views were magnificent. Now just waking at Roncesvalles with no idea where I will sleep tonight. The Camino provides they say. We will see.
Got poles and snacks for the assault on the mountain today. Rain is forecast but the day after should be very good. Walking with others so we encourage each other. Met a nice Yorkshireman walking for a sick child. Conversation at the dinner table was eclectic..,French,English,Spanish, Yorkshire and bewildered sign language for 2 unilingual Chinese pilgrims. Time to get up. and walk!
My flight was uneventful although the scene in Montreal was pretty chaotic. Many people seemed to be leaving town with all their worldly possessions . I should have thought more carefully about those zip off shirts/ pants though. As if my artificial hip wasn’t enough for the scanner to catch. My entry into France was pretty surprising in that I was subject to no Covid checks at all. My carefully amassed documents and phone scan and two forms filled out on the plane never left my bag. I had applied for a French equivalent of our Quebec vaccination pass. In spite of submitting many documents I never got it but now I wonder how much it is being used? It was a beautiful sunny day here and I went out for a walk in the neighborhood. However after several restless nights a nap was more important. Many thanks to kind Yasmina for her hospitality. tomorrow I’ll take the train down to St Jean Pied de Port. Two sleeps there and then …..up the mountain we go!
The innocent clump of thistle was the cause of my fall. The toboggan hill in the park has become my favorite training zone. I developed the habit of walking up and down as many times as I could. I go down backwards to stretch the backs of my knees. It’s good for my balance too – well, most of the time. I get in a sort of “zone” or trance when I’m doing the hills. Last Wednesday evening my trance was a little too deep. The hill is mostly rough grass or clover patches but there is this one clump of thistle right on the edge of the hill. I had been experimenting with going up and down the rough stone path at the side and for some reason was going down at the extreme edge of the hill. As I walked down backwards I stepped right into the thistle patch. I must have been a funny sight as I awoke from my trance and twisted around to try to get my footing. People look funny when they are trying to keep their balance on a hill and if the kids below who were playing soccer had only looked up they would have had a chuckle. I ended up on my rear with a bit of a bump and laughing at my predicament.
Later that evening I felt a little blue. What was I thinking? was I really going to go on this adventure, and come home unscathed? But the next day chance sent me a pick-me-up. I have a few plants on my city balcony, among them this cheerful nasturtium. I heard a faint buzz and glanced out to see a little bird. But he wasn’t sitting on a branch. No, he didn’t need a branch because he was a friendly little hummingbird who looked right at me and then flitted away. My plant only has two blooms but he had found them out and come to investigate. Something about his cheerful resourcefulness made me feel better. He wasn’t giving up. He was managing and taking care of his business.
Then today I had another lovely surprise. My flat is quite close to the big city park, Angrignon where I get out of the metro to walk home. I decided to take a path through the shady trees rather than my usual walk along a city block. No one else was on the path and suddenly a pale hawk or falcon flew up onto a branch in front of me. His solemn eyes above his hooked beak gazed down at me for quite a long time. Then I fumbled with my phone trying to take a picture and he flew off.
So, I didn’t get a shot of either bird. I won’t easily forget my encounters with them, though. I felt as if they were telling me to pick myself up and get on with things. So, I will