Published: April 9th 2012April 9th 2012
WELL my friends..... it is now day 5 of walking and we are in a lovely Albergue just outside of Pamplona...... hard to know where to start as I dont know how long will be able to be online.....
London - last day was fantiastic day of pic taking and walking the streets... LOVED the Houses of Parliament..... and happened to go in to Westmeinster Cathedral ( NOT Abbey) .... there was a FULL mass happening, church was packed - had a full choir singing so so sweetly.... it was amazing..... I ....wanted to get in to the full view of the service and choir... so I went in the line to take Catholic Communion for the first time in about 40 yrs! not the usual reason to take communion but I´m sure I wil be forgiven :-) anyway.... as I was in the line up ... people were all around, the choir started to sing a hym and everyone around me joined in........ and it was so beautiful tears came to my eyes! .... just ...... one of THOSE moments
Thats all of London for now.... We were booked on the Eurostar to get to Paris Norde then
had to catch a local train to ANOTHER french Int railway station, then catch a train from there.... well, mes amis I SERIOUSLY UNDERESTIMATED the stress that might involve in getting from one place to another when NOT knowing any of the language...... unlike when Ive been to Bali where people are wanting to interact(mainly to sell you something) it seemed so so busy and.... difficult to read where we were going .... we managed in the end, but then when on another 5 hr trip on the train had to face buying food in the cafe onboard..... I swear when the woman looked at us both and said ´Madame?´Diane and >I looked like rabbits in the spotlight..... we manged via signs and yes no and pointing etc but honestly it is SUCH a discovery for me to fine that when you are NOT fluent in the dominant language it is - exhausting-intimidating- isolating - and I felt so...... dumb! both interaction AND intelligence-wise. !
Just went to add pics but this comp wont let me - will have to add them at a later date
We finally arrived at St Jean Pied de Port (after meeting up
St Jean Pied De Port
They don't stare like Aussie cows....
with some fellow pilgrims Mark and Merri from USA Jo from Sydney Anna from Germany and ..... Oh suddenly cant remember his name - a Canadian - Richard - who brought maple syrup malt whisky to toast with stayed in a fantastic Abergue called L ´esprit du Chemin - look it up online ......Humberta the Hospitalero who runs it was so lovely and warm - hugs hello for a ethen we all had a beautiful home cooked meal - started with an apertif that we toasted our mutual and individual journeys with...all intorduced ourselves and said a little about why here7 interest in the Camino etc....I cant express how fine the meal was and the happiness to be there .. FINALLY beginning the walk ! Shared a room with 4 other women and after getting our ´Credencial del Pelegrino´- the Pilgrim passport that allows us to stay and we get stamped at all the Albergues we stop in ...we set off......... down narrow narrow streets taking so many pics... NONE of which I can show you now ! The houses are all in the Basque style - very white and 2 story with wooden shutters etc SO SO pretty -
at LEsprit du Chemin
wonderful dinner and intro to our indiv and collective journeys
the weather was rainy but a soft gentle rain not hard and windy so it was really a delight to walk in ..... also a chance to find that yes our rain ponchos and gaiters work VERY well ...... we stayed the night in a little village called Valcarlos .Met Ole from Denmark and Nere from a village in the Navarra region - she was just walking over the Easter period... she was such a delight, spoke some English, spanish and French too - had a great sense of humour and we had quite a few laughs, I loved the way she expressed herself with her hands also - we ate at a local bar and had the Pilgrim Menu both that and the next nights.... The FOLLOWING Day 2 of walking we went from Valcarlos to Roncessvalle.... the walk was qquite arduaos ( we ARE in the PYrenees after all ) and also beautiful the scenery.... ayiyiy.... I still cannot show you ! as we walked up one mountain a storm came in ove the next - I LOVE thunder and lightening anyway and I will NEVER forget those moments of huge noise and rolling thunder and the POWER
but where are my poles??
of it in the air..... you know when you want to lift your hands to the sky like... like...a magi or something...... it was amazing ! But wait .... there is more !! When we arrived at Roncessvalle we were expectng as the guide books had mentioned a 120 bed dorm in the monastery - well the monastery ( built SPECIFICALLY FOR pILGRIMS IN THE 1100´S) is still there but wing has just opened up and it was totally...beautifully magnificently done! ..... sensor lighting ,hot showers the ´rooms´were like a long corridor with booths going off that had 2x double bunks...... we claimed our bunks after paying 10 Euro each then went to book for the Pilgrim Menu dinner.... and while we were out there doing that is STARTED TO SNOW!!!! Honestly....... it could not have been more perfect, I had been thinking as we walked up the mountains it would be great if it snowed when we get there ´cos Diane hasnt EVER seen snow.....and VOILA it manifested ..... is that not amazing!!???? I have seen snow... but not falling, in my memory anyway....... it was wonderful and we were in and out of a bar that was warm
and loud with the greetings and noise of happy pilgrims..... just a lovely experience. We bid farewell and swapped emails with Nere that night and set off the next day in vv cold weather ( but not snowing) ........ we went from the Monastery at Roncessvalle to Zubiri - 22 kkm another day of hill climbimg u and down and rain and mud and a lovely rushingriver to walk alongside,....We stayed in a private Albergue which cost a little more but still great value 15 for the bed and breakfast and 12 for pilgrim menu dinner that night.... met a woman called Kim from US a doco maker who is now wanting to write... and a quirky Irishwoman who dances flamenco called Moira.. AND a fellow in his 60´s who told Diane and I that his Son-inlaw is soon to be admitted to The SIU at Hampstead as is currently in RAH with spinal injuries since Dec... how co-incidental is that???? He travels half way around the world ( at the encouragement of his daughter saying you go Dad I/we´ll be ok ) to meet 2 Nurses who work where his S inLaw is going..... - he himself lives in
After that night we walked to Pamplona..... or so we thought.... but ended up staying in a 1000 yr old Monastery at Arre - about 3-4 km outside of Pamplona... we walked across abridge that had been built by Romans OVER 2000 yrs ago.... it was built BC !!! I am still struggling to get my head around that ....... the inside of the Monastery.... ( will find the proper name link - butjust google Arre and monastery for now ) was astonishingly old with these enormous beams..... One of the Marist brothers chatted to us for a while , telling us the history of our surrounds - which I REALLY appreciated because I feel I´m missing a lot of the tales surrounding various bridges/places/trails/buildings because I cannot read Spanish .......I have a good guidebook ..... but verbal story telling is so much better ..... we then walked on through Pamplona the next day .... again taking many pics, walked the route of the Running of The Bulls which is held for a full week in July at 0800 each day ...... obviously diane and I are not 20something males fueled by testosterone and plenty of booze so we were happy to just walk it ...... have no idea what just happened - accidentally presse something on this spanish keyboard and has gone bold and large..... lol lol ..... anyway thats about it for . We are staying tonight in a plce outside Pamplona called ... C menor ??? I cant think of first part of the name...... it has a beautiful garden and a washing machine and some sunshne so we have done that and now in bare feet - feels like bliss.... thats all for now Diane tried to go online and blog ´computer said ´NO´so she does apologise to all and sundry for not updating... she cant even get in to her email..
Life is wonderful and each day an adventure....oh look..... I´m back to another size/font agin??? sweet mysteries of life eh ? Cioa for now - Much Love to all- thank you for al messages/comments it is too difficult to reply to each individually but please know that your comments and encouragements are a lovely reminder that those we love are watching and mean so much to us lucky pilgrims.....
Mwwaaaahhhh!!! - Jacqui & Diane xxx
There are more photos below