Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 2 - Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña - 27.4km

Today's route was mostly in well wooded country, on easy gradients through several valleys: first the rio Urrobi, over the ridge Alto de Mezquiriz, across the rio Erro, over another ridge (Alto de Erro) and then along the rio Arga.

This could be the most photographed sign on the Camino.  The distance commonly quoted for the most popular of the routes, the Camino Frances from St Jean PdeP to Santiago, is 790 km.  I'm not sure how accurate that is, or whether the distance by road from Roncesvalles to Santiago is really 790 km too, but everyone gets a shot of the sign, even those of us who walk past in the dark at 7.21 am (some fellow pilgrims' shoes just visible glowing in the camera flash).
I walked with Ralph for the first part of the day, and our first stop was at the busy Cafe Fronto in Auritz (Burguette) for breakfast, since there wasn't anywhere open in Roncesvalles at the time we left.  The cafe is located on the central village square filled with well manicured plane trees, right next door to the imposing facade of the Iglesia de San Nicolas de Barri (below).

Rain spoiled play somewhat for much of the day, but the sun did come out later.  Note to self: waist pouch is not very waterproof - soggy tickets and a disintegrating wallet are the not too serious results - but the backpack rain cover works very well, thank goodness.
A symmetrical feline welcome in Linzoain.

A view from Alto de Erro
The Puente de la Rabia, a medieval bridge over which the pilgrim can cross the river Arga into Zubiri, is thus called because of the legend that leading an animal three times around the central arch will cure it of rabies. Well perhaps.

Based on the Brierley guide book's recommendation, we bypassed the industrial town of Zubiri, with its wide choice of private and municipal hostels and pensions, and headed instead for Larrasoana. After crossing or passing several medieval puente and spotting trout rising in the streams, finally the magnificent church bells of Larrasoana appeared.

The municipal albergue had several attractions which the guide book left out, including rickety bunk beds in the annexe, mouldy, cobwebbed ceilings a few inches from my face (I had to make do with a top bunk) and a shortage of toilet paper.  There wasn't much choice for dinner, but the only bar/cafe in town did serve an acceptable pilgrim meal, and I stocked up on bread, chorizo and sardines at a local shop for a picnic lunch the following day.

No comments: