When we woke in the morning, the rain was pelting down. The paths were torrents of mud and slush and we struggled through narrow torrent courses with deep mud almost sucking the boots off our feet! We had taken a black garbage bag, cut a head hole and armholes in it and used it like a poncho, but still the water found its way into our backpacks and into our clothes. Thank heavens we had all our clothes in zip-lock bags otherwise everything would have been soaked. Anneliese said that she thought I was mad to suggest that we keep all our clothes in plastic bags but was very grateful when she found her clothing quite dry but the inside of her bag wet.
We intending spending the first night at Zubiri but somehow we missed the turn over a bridge into the town and only realised our mistake 2km past the town. It was a hard slog up steep, slippery gravel paths and down slushy, mushy muddy tracks to Larrasoana. Luckily we managed to get beds in the refuge there. The 4 showers and 2 toilets were in a portable shed – unisex nog al! When Anneliese and I went into the shed to shower there was man in all his naked glory sorting out his clothes on a chair. A woman came out from behind the curtain also naked as a baby! We ended up showering and changing with naked men and women tiredly going on with their ablutions.
Luckily we haven’t had too many snorers and have had fairly good nights. We got us this morning to a very misty drizzle but it cleared as we walked. Walked is a misnomer, skidded, slipped and slushed is more like it. The paths were horrendous: narrow, slushy, muddy with loose rocks and in parts, steep stone steps leading down that were as slippery (if not more so) than the mud paths on either side. We decided to find a hotel in Pamplona instead of staying in a refuge so that we could unpack our packs, sort out wet and dry clothing and take stock of blisters and hot spots on toes and heels. Our shoulders are all sore so we will do a mutual back and shoulders massage tonight. The sun came out just before Trinidad de Arre (yay!) so we hung our wet fleeces on the back of our packs to dry.
We are staying on the 4th floor of a little fonda (inn) not far from the Plaza del Castillo and this Internet café. There are 3 beds and the bathroom is down the hall with sit-in baths. They don’t provide plugs but we are savvy pilgrims and brought international plugs with us so we were able to have a bath!
The main Correos (post office) was one street down from our road so I managed to post 4 envelopes home with little books, brochures and leaflets. We are now just around the corner from The Plaza del Castillo – where the old La Perla hotel is (now renovated to 5 star status). We will find somewhere to eat, try to visit the cathedral and then go back to our room.
Syl, Anneliese & Marion