Camino de Santiago Day 2

Wednesday, April 8

Day 2

Roncesvalles to Zubiri

23 km / 16 miles

Ouch. And good morning. Lights went on at the albergue at 6 AM sharp, but I had been up since 5. I got a good nights sleep, but as I sat up, my back and shoulders screamed at me. Ouch.

As I am pretty good at getting my things together the night before, I was ready to go at 6:15. A bit too early some might say. Sunrise was not until 7:30, but what else was there to do except walk? Right outside of the Roncesvalles complex was the famous sign: Santiago de Compostella 790 km. Even though it was pitch black, I was able to get a picture with it from my new friend L, from Korea. We continued along the way, entering the forest, still in pitch black. I asked him if he was scared. To which I learned he did not understand or speak any English. I had my headlamp, he had his iPhone flashlight. It was so creepy and spooky, walking through a dark forest at 7 AM, in a foreign country. “This is how I get kidnapped and die,” I thought to myself. After maybe a half hour, we made it out of the woods, only to learn it was an witches forest long, long ago. And it certainly felt like it.

After, I walked through a small town, still too early and dark for any action or signs of life. From there, the way took me through a beautiful farm, with snow capped mountains in the distance, and an amazing sunrise sky.

I met Kevin, from Chicago, along the way. We walked together for quite a bit, getting along pretty well. We stopped in the next town for something we both crave the minute we wake up every morning: coffee. It seems the Spanish have coffee after meals or at night. But I need it first thing in the morning.

We continued on, through another couple small towns and a lot of farmland. Then began a tough ascent up a never ending hill, only to be greeted with beautiful views of the towns and farms below. I took in one last breathe of the land below, and then entered a forest on top of the mountain, which I would be walking along the rest of the way to Zubiri.

This is where things got difficult. Walking alone, with very little landscape changing as I was always surrounded by trees, I entered my own thoughts. I only expect this to happen even more and more often in the next 30 days.

Beer break.

But when I arrived in Zubiri after 35,000 steps and 23 km later (16 miles), I was welcomed by a beautiful stone walking bridge reminiscent of the medieval days, with a river running just under. Because it is a little early in the Camino “season,” the municipal albergue was closed, so a few pellegrinos and I found another hostel to stay at. We then decided to grab lunch: local meats, cheeses, bread, and delicious wine from the region (for only $2 a bottle)! It was everything I’d been dreaming of. And it’s only the beginning.

Zubiri, Spain

Breakfast €5

Beer €2

Lunch €3

Hostel €14

Dinner €4

Total €28

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