When I woke up it felt like I hadn’t slept at all, but I must have done because I missed the nerve-wracking noises of a suspected sleep apnea sufferer very close by. We decided to miss the big breakfast in Roncesvalles and find a coffee somewhere en route, which should be just a few kms away. It was dawn, but the trail goes through the trees and was actually so dark I had to get my little flashlight out. Soon after we came to a café and shop outside Burguete and had breakfast and restocked some supplies.
Along the way we walked with a Canadian pilgrim who had arrived in Orisson late the night we were there, ragged and stressed after having had her pack go missing in transit, with some of the info and documents she needed still in the pack. She was finding her feet and her rhythm on the camino, and we spent a lovely day walking with her and others who came and went. As we approached Zubiri, there was another tricky descent, with sharp and rubble strewn rocks.
We made it safely down, and Colleen and I went to get a quick snack and a cold drink while our new friend went to the municipal to try to secure a bed for the night. What we didn’t know then, was that the municipal was closed for refurbishment! That’s 48 beds less, at a typical bottle-neck town, in high season. We saw her go and didn’t see her come back, so we thought she’d got a bed. The truth was she had to get in a taxi with some others to look for beds in Pampona instead.
Colleen and I had another 3.4 kms to go, mainly along the road, and the sun was hot and high. Now we wished we had started earlier … but there was only one thing for it – load up with water, get the umbrella clicked on the pack strap, and go for it. Past the magnesium works, which was less than picturesque. We soon arrived at Urdániz though and after a good long wait in the shade with our fellow albergue guests, and a good splash in the pool, our host arrived, checked us in and showed us to our beds.
That night we had such a lot of fun that I got no photos at all, and the communal meal of a lovely, elaborate salad, oven baked chicken and dessert was one of the best pilgrim meals I have had. The albergue Aca y Alla is hereby recommended!