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Published: September 27th 2014
I think the late Chrissie A. was right, there's a fine line between pleasure and pain and I think I crossed into pain today. Nothing much can prepare you for the first stage of the Camino. We had breakfast at the albergue at 6.30am and headed out into the street to begin walking. The night before was an Aussie contingent with Libby and Doug from Tasmania, Connor and Beth from Canberra and Sue and me from Victoria .
The walk to Orisson is 8 kms up a steep hill and we were informed it then becomes an easier crisscross sort of walk to the peak. Rubbish ! It was a grind the whole way, over tarred tracks, dirt tracks, and tracks that were covered in rocks. The latter were mainly downhill. We walked through shaded beech forests, open country and at the peak, pea soup fog and mist so dense that you couldn't see 30 metres in front of you at times. At one point, near a memorial to a deceased pilgrim at the peak, we started down the wrong way in a fork in the road and was alerted by a man in a car. The next day we
heard of a group of 3 who made the same mistake adding 5 hours to their day. I walked mainly with Doug and Libby as the others dropped back early. We all arrived at within 30 minutes of each other, exhausted, sore but mainly overwhelmed at achieving something some people had doubts about. Today was a 26km walk. Sue greeted us as we arrived as she caught a local transport to avoid irritating long standing issues with her knees. It's a pity, as I'm sure the only problem could have been the 3.5km descent into Ronscevalles. Overall it was a great day and I can understand why people come back to do it again.
The day was great, the monastery we are staying at is amazing with a modern fit out and I was never so grateful for a hot shower. Tonight we are off to a cafe for dinner, a 3 course pilgrim menu for 9 euros. The hostel is 10 euros each.
Tomorrow we head off early for an easier day and will walk for a couple of hours before breakfast .
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