Roncesvalles was wonderful. We had the pilgrim's menu (three course meal with a bottle of wine for seven Euros per person!), then we attended the Pilgrim's Mass. The girls had never been to a Catholic service before. It was memorable; the priests blessed all of us and the kids enjoyed the solemn ceremony.
The town was magical in all the snow. Doorways and arches are buried right now - we sometimes had trouble finding unblocked entries to the buildings.
Hotel Roncesvalles was quite the treat. We all had showers and our room was the size of an albergue.
We left the next morning at 8am.
Looking back at Roncesvalles...
Ernest Hemingway stayed here...inside one of those buildings, there's supposedly a piano that bears his signature
Soon after eating, we left the road and took the Camino proper. It is not advised to take the Camino proper this high up just yet as the snow is still deep, but we'd had enough of the road. Road walking hurts the feet!
At first, we followed tractor tracks along the Way - that made the walking easy. Unfortunately, however, the farmer didn't drive over the entire path...instead, he just went to his farm...which meant that most of this Camino section was covered in knee-deep snow.
A few Koreans had also gone this route (instead of sticking to the road, like all the other pilgrims). We felt tough and committed, though - even Hugh with the bike - so we trudged on, knowing the section would only last a mile or two.
The girls had a blast. So did the Koreans. Hugh with the bike...not so much. We told him he was a manly man...and indeed he was this morning. It's not easy dragging a heavy mountain bike through two feet of snow.
Crazy New Hampshire peregrinas...
We rejoined the road and decided to stick to the pavement until we were closer to Zubiri. This was good and bad. Good for Hugh and his bike, but horrible for me and the girls. We walked miles and miles of pavement today...our feet aren't happy right now.
We could finally duck back into the woods here; the snow is minimal near Erro...I think I can safely say that we will be able to walk the Camino proper (and not the highway) for the rest of our trip.
Into the woods and to Zubiri..
The toughest part of today was the climb to Alto de Erro. The elevation gain is just a couple hundred feet, but since it was near the end of a long day it felt like we were walking Mt. Washington's Auto Road.
We are staying at Albergue Zaldiko tonight. It's a nice place with very friendly owners. There are blankets and laundry facilities, and the rooms are well heated. The fee is ten Euros per person.
Hugh leaves from Pamplona the morning of the 18th. We will therefore either take two short walking days getting to Pamplona or we'll get to Pamplona tomorrow and then take a day off. Hugh will rejoin us on the Camino on the 21st or so, after he gives a talk at a conference in Lyon, France.
Today's thank-you goes to the Mt. Washington Observatory. The kind folks who work there donated two family memberships to the raffle I held last December. The proceeds of that raffle went to GirlVentures (we are hiking in honor of GirlVentures and Global Fund for Women - see the tabs above for more information). Thanks for your support, Mt. Washington OBS! Those were great prizes and we appreciate your support!
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