Sunday 24th March 2013

Trip Start Mar 23, 2013
Trip End May 05, 2013

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Flag of Spain  , Navarra,
Sunday, March 24, 2013

Off on the road about 7.00 am.  I am joined by a Korean Sun-ho, who I met at breakfast.  We were warned not to do the mountain route as 4 people had died this year, one a Canadian last week.  It seems we were not the only place with silly weather.  It was hard going, mostly road and stone tracks, very heavy on the old bones, just 25 km to go!
I enjoyed talking to my new Korean friend, he was a tailor and worked 70 to 80 hours a week.  He was also divorced with a 16 year old son, he said he would have to get a second job to pay for his sons university when he reached 18.  It was then I realized we cannot compete with these Asian tigers and gave him that nick-name.
It started off raining, but soon the sun came out and things felt better. We walked up, always up through woods and streams past beautiful mountains.  By lunchtime it was 20 degrees so I stopped for an ice-cream, well it was a Spanish holiday so it felt right in the sun.  My Korean Tiger did not like ice-cream so we stopped by a stream for a paddle to cool the aching feet.  By now we had done 20 km, ahead was the last 5km in the snow to an altitude of 1400m (nearly four and a half thousand feet).  We met a lovely German mother and daughter for this last bit, the Mother was fit but the 18 year old daughter was struggling badly.  There was nowhere to go but up, we encouraged them as best we could.  Finally we arrived in a snowy Roncesvalles, a beautiful purpose built hotel and hostel next to a Church. We had great pasta and a beer for a rather late lunch, we were all knackered but very pleased to have made it.
That evening I attended mass at the Church, it was a lovely service that finished with the Pilgrims being called forward to be blessed in a dozen languages.  I found out I was the only Catholic amongst the 30 pilgrims at the service, as they all later asked me what the service was about as it was palm Sunday and they did not understand the green leaved sticks we were given.  My Korean tiger is an atheist, but walks the Camiono as its very famous in Korea.  I had met many Koreans, Spanish, Germans and Danes, but no English.
The German mother and daughter joined the Asian tiger and I for dinner, a lovely soup starter, pork fillets and ice-cream or fruit to finish.  It came with a lovely glass of a strong fruity red Navarre wine, all for 7 euros, a bargain!  The German mother bought us another bottle of red wine to say thank you for dragging her and her daughter up the last bit of the walk, it was a lovely finish to the day and set us up for an early night, as its lights out at 10.00pm.  The hostel was very modern with washing machines etc, I was was told not to get used to it as it was the best on the route.  I heard that my German snoring friend had gone the mountain route against advice, I was very tired so uncharitably hoped he bloody well stayed there, unfortunately he made it........
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