Sage 2 from Roncesvalles to Zubiri – While Saint-Jean to Roncesvalles to the most physically grueling stage of the entire Camino I find the walk to Zubiri the most mentally taxing and technical. It is one of the shortest days at 14 miles but it ends with a number of miles of walking up and down hills with trails made of ankle breaking wet slate and shale turned on edge creating an almost impossible surface to walk on safely (or at all). That said it was a great day.
This sign is a little disconcerting since 20ish km ago I passed 1 that said 765 km and that was carved in stone
The day began walking through the forest and small Basque villages in the cool and softly lit hours of the morning and ended with a great meal. Having left early in the morning to miss the rain (a current theme) I crossed the ancient Roman stone bridge into Zubiri at noon about 15 minute ahead of the storm. Found a place to lodge for the night and went out to have lunch and write.
In the evening Stefano, an Italian gentleman about my age, and I prepared dinner for 8 of us. Lorenzo and I were not to pleased with the end result seeing that the available groceries at the small local market were quite limited. Our audience on the other hand were thrilled and the night continued with a great conversation drifting from time to time from English to German, the native tong of everyone else at the table. This was not a problem however as Christine, student from Cologne, Germany, took the role of being my translator very seriously. As the conversation devolved between two Germans, one of Assyrian and another of Northern European descent, into a disagreement over how you define your cultural, national and familiar heritage I went off to bed. In the morning all was well.
One of the things I love about the Camino is how it both celebrates the things that make us different while a the same time bringing so many together.