Roncesvalles-Larrasoana Day 2

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The following morning, all the pilgrims got a pleasant surprise.  At 6 a.m., the hospitaleros began walking around from room to room playing guitar and singing “Wake Up Little Susie,” complete with tambourine accompaniment.  It was one of the more tactful wake up calls I had experienced, that is without pissing everyone off.   Walking around and waking everyone up like that taught us 2 things: 1) Pilgrims start hiking early in the morning, most of the time I was on the trail before sunrise, 2) This was a nice way of telling the pilgrims “You need to wake up because you have to be out of here by 8:00 a.m.” or maybe 9:00 a.m., depending on the hospitalero.  By the way, hospitaleros are known as the hosts of the albergues.  They are the ones who stamp your pilgrim passport when you arrive, tell you where the good pilgrim menus are around town, and sometimes even help heal your blistered feet.  Staying here and waking up that early was a great way to ease into Camino life.

After the musical wake up call, Dom, Caroline, Mel, and I walked out the front door while it was still dark and the moon was still visible to start on day 2 of the Camino.  We all took quick pictures next to a sign that read ‘Santiago-790 km’ as we hiked on by.  There wasn’t really a breakfast option at the albergue other than a few vending machines, so we opted to just hike on an empty stomach for the 5 km hike to the next village.  We stopped and grabbed cafe con leeches (coffee with mild) and small hot bocadillos (sandwiches) with several other pilgrims who had all stayed at the same albergue the night before.  This was going to be the usual routine for the next month.

We finished eating and headed back on the trail and hiked through villages, green countrysides, and steep hills.  No paved walkways except for hiking along the road occasionally.  I cannot do justice in describing how beautiful and refreshing the hike was only to say look at the pictures below.  We eventually started getting hungry again around lunch time and stopped by a little store to grab supplies for a picnic, splitting the cost between each other and promising to get the next round of beers later that evening.  About an hour or so outside town, we stopped on top of a hill and settled down for a picnic and siesta.  It was literally the only time I ever used my sleeping pad the entire trip.

By the end of the day, we were all tired and Mel was nursing a nasty little blister on her foot.  She finished the hike in her flip flops because that was most comfortable for her.  We arrived in Larrasoana late, and stayed in the overflow section of the albergue, which turned out to be a converted barn.  We settled in and walked over to the only bar in town for the pilgrim menu.  Oh…my…God.  The food was amazing!  It wasn’t “I’m so tired I’ll eat anything hot” amazing, it was really good.  A nice bottle of wine, fresh crisp salad with tuna, beef stew that fell apart and slowly melted in your mouth, and ice cream bars for desert.  The ice cream wasn’t anything special, but it was still really good.

On our walk back, we could hear several people singing and having a good time eating and drinking at other albergues.  We passed them by and went on to our renovated barn to call it a night.  At about 1:00 a.m., some of our fellow pilgrims stumbled in from the bar after having 1 too many spirits with dinner (to put it very nicely).  I could hear that they were American just by the way they spoke, and I was embarrassed.  Fed up, I walked downstairs and told them we were all trying to sleep and to politely shut up.  Eventually they quieted down and everyone got some sleep, but I learned a lesson on day 2 of the Camino: Eat drink and be merry whilst on the Camino, but don’t be an ass, be considerate of others (sounds more like 3 lessons, but they’re very linked).

Destination: Larrsoana

Distance: 27.4 km

Accommodation: Municipal Albergue-Hot showers, large sleeping quarters (bring earplugs), really good pilgrim menu at Pension Cafe & Bar.

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