Orisson – Roncesvalles
I’m finally getting to write up this day’s blog entry from some bullet points I kept. There is very little down time here on the Camino. When our day of hiking ends we begin getting ready for the next day’s hiking, showered, fed and prepared with snacks for the next day
We left the Orisson Alburgue way before anyone was up. We hiked by the light of Pat’s headlamp. It was very windy and walking on the narrow road I was concerned with cars driving up behind us (there was no room to pass us off the mountainous road) and with the loud noise of the strong wind we couldn’t hear an auto approaching and because of the light from Pat’s headlamp on the road we also wouldn’t be forewarned by the head lights of an approaching car, so I asked Pat to turn her headlamp off.
The higher we walked the windier it got. We put our rain jackets on. I also put my backpack rain cover on as one of the many large clouds looked dark enough it might release some rain.
We passed a Pilgrim who had gotten caught in the evening lightening storm trying to hike to Roncesvalles around 10pm last night. He said he slept under an over hang and prayed for his life as the lightning landed all around him! yikes.
We’d been reminded that because of some Pilgrims and their not so nice manners Basque Sheepherders we not happy with the Pilgrims. Well we ran into a Basque Sheepherder and went over to talk to him. We were impressed with how he communicated with his dog and precise his dog was herding his sheep. Of course I took photos. The gentleman brought his dog over and let us pet him. It was a wonderful experience watching both the man and his incredibly we’ll trained dog work the sheep spot on moving them exactly where he wanted the sheep to go.
All along this mountain road we saw sheep, wild horses, hawks and farm horses. Bells hung from the animals creating all too familiar mountain music all morning. We stopped for a quick snack break and just after we were getting up to walk again, rain fell. The first Pilgrim to catch up with us had just said he didn’t think it would rain. I told Pat he’s not very experienced reading weather. We’d been watching the approaching cloud letting lose of rain as it approached. The hiker was wearing shorts and a tee shirt.
The dramatic black skies against whiter sky and a thin sliver of red sunrise hopefully will make for some good black and white photos. I was cold but loving this morning and all the photo ops. I walk ahead of Pat and then wait for her. This morning I got cold waiting. Sometimes I take lots of photos and then catch up to Pat. This seems to work but it is difficult when two people have such different paces. I now understand why some of my backpacking friends can’t backpack with me:-)
Right after our snack break while it was still raining we came up on a roadside snack truck. I bought some of the local sheep cheese made by the vender along with two slices of nice looking bread.
All the many Pilgrims started passing us after about 2 hours. We ran into Cate and her daughter, Erin who we sat next to at dinner the night before.
We ended our day’s 10.5 mi section at 2:30pm. This was Pat’s longest day ever hiking. My body and feet felt good. The Dueter pack works well.
There were no hotel rooms to be had in Roncesvalles. We tried the three hotels and asked a nice taxi driver to call the next little town for a room. No luck. So we headed over to the Alburgue, a massive one, clean, we’ll organized and MANY rules. Lights out at 10pm, no packs on our bed, no shoes anywhere inside, but free! Not coin operated 5 minute showers. They have a water spinner for your clothes if you washed them yourself. I washed mine and the lady helping in the laundry room said no when I asked if I could get my clothes dried in the dryer. The dryer is only available to use if one’s clothes had been washed in the washing machine there. Understandable.
We’d grabbed a quick bite to eat, a Spanish Omelete (like a quiche made Ali’s with potato) rather than make reservations at one of the 3 dinner settings for the Pilgrims staying at this Alburgue. All the other 3 restaurants required reservations and they were also full.
I was tired and got into my lower bunk at 7pm (the hospitalero had compassion for Pat and me and gave us lower bunks!). I got a lot of sleep.
Sept 6, 2014, Sat
The fact that Saturday is an important day is that Sunday all stores are closed. That means food stores too. Not having food when I want to eat is scary than anything else. We begin the Camino tomorrow and our guidebook says there are no cafés or places to eat or buy food along this beginning section to Orrison. So Saturday it’s important we not forget to buy food for breakfast and lunch. We get dinner at the hostel we have reserved two beds in. Not only did we not forget to buy food today I ate like it was the last day I’d ever eat again.
Woke up late this morning we knew we would. I didn’t get in bed until 3:30 am Friday night. I’d been warring with posting problems with WordPress, the slow internet in general, getting my wireless camera photos available to post on my WordPress blog and password problems for every site I use to blog and upload photos to. I finally got so mad and my mind was gone from jet lag that I really couldn’t think and was making more problems for myself. I was spending too much time on troubleshooting and needed my sleep. I’ve kept brief notes of what we did Friday and Saturday because I’d had similar internet posting problems on Friday too. Basically I just stopped blogging (to get back at the internet) and now Sunday morning, after only 1 and a half hours sleep, I woke up knowing I needed to get something of what I did today and yesterday or the days would run together and I’d never remember what I did, saw or felt.
So, I’m going to write up from a few listed bullet points from those almost lost days:
Sept. 5, Friday
“We coined the phrase, “it is what it is”. Pat and I like to have all our ducks in order. We are anal about knowing what is coming up. Worrying about the what’s ifs is hopefully going to change. (We’d been discussing the fact that the stores may be closed for siesta time when I needed to get my SIM cards for the iPhone and iPad.)
We met our first Perigrinos. Pat today brought up I had said Peligrinos (like the bottled water) instead of Perigrinos while talking to our first Camino people we met, Keith and Linda Smith from Portland.
We amazed ourselves with how well we were doing finding our way around, especially with the train situations. Pat is very good at this.
A highlight in a negative sense of this day was when it took almost two hours to get me hooked up with a Spanish SIM card company. Pat practiced patience beyond her comprehension unlike the long unhappy line of customers behind me! If it hadn’t been for a beautiful young Spanish/English speaking couple who took me on as their own personal project communicating non stop with the salesman I’d still be there! I gave she and her husband (who had just said to his wife, “honey we have I go now” two Starbucks gift cards as a thank you. I’d bought about 5 cards before I left on this trip to give as gifts when giving a tip would be awkward.
We were really hungry after the SIM card experience and stopped for a bite. Well that’s all we had was a bite. Our ordered hamburger was raw! But the upside was I got to photograph a gorgeous in love like devouring each other with their hands, expressions and eyes at the next table over. They had to be having a new affair. Hot, hot, hot.. Pat was afraid they’d think I was a hired private detective for one of their mates and come take and break my camera!
We got a great room at the Hotel Pamplona Plaza only blocks from where our afternoon train dropped us off. From the train depot we had no idea where to go to find an area with hotels. After heading out walking to see if we could find something with no luck in the direction we were heading I stopped a girl walking her dog to ask if she knew of any closeby hotels. She did and personally offered to walk us over to it. Wow!!! Miriam the really helpful front desk person was also great in getting me the name and address of an Apple store in Pamplona. They are called K-tuin not Apple. I’d lost my iPad camera card uploader.
The night from hell with internet stuff!!! Bed 3:30am after I said, “I give”.
Sept 6, Sat
Up at 9:45 am. Apple store opens at 10 am. No need to hurry. Took taxi to store and then had breakfast at a table with a lady who was neither Spanish nor French. She kept talking to us but we couldn’t understand a word. She just kept speaking louder and louder thinking maybe we’d get it.
Back to the Apple store to ask questions about transportation to St Jean Pied de Port. Taxis were ridiculously costly so she recommended the very closeby bus station where we could buy bus tickets for $20Eu. After a two and a half hour wait we boarded the bus for the 1.5 hour drive to our Camino starting town with about 25-30 other Pilgrims (Camino walkers). That bus driver was excellent at maneuvering the single lane windy road that would scare anyone.
We headed straight to the Pilgrims office we’d read and heard so much about, where we got our Pilgrim Passports. One needs to get this Passport stamped daily to prove in Santiago you walked the entire trail or section as the case may be to receive papers at the end. Very exciting.
Next I bought trekking poles and a small knife. Couldn’t bring those in my carry on luggage. The rest of he day we walked around looking for a hotel not hostel. We eventually checked in at the Arrambide Hotel, a very luxurious hotel when we found most hotels had no vacancies. We don’t love the price but love the hotel.
Did I forget to mention the chocolate crepe we ate earlier? Oh we’ll..
We also walked up the beginning of the trail so we’d know where to go in the wee dark hour of 5:30am when we depart on the Camino! Yes. It does begin. On the way back I stopped and shit some photos from the bridge over the Nive River (not sure of name). Have mostly been recording rather than being creative with my photos.
And now maybe I can get in 2 more hours of sleep before my alarm goes off!
September 4, 2014, Thursday
No more training. No more counting how many days left before we leave to walk the Camino de Santiago. Today we boarded our flight and am I excited.
Fifteen minutes before Ray was to drive me to meet Pat at the Palm Springs airport Ray and I were both seated at our desks on our computers. I was completing the last thing left on a to-do list so long I never thought I’d get done when Ray said, “Did you see Frank’s FB post?” “I said, “No.” Ray then read what Frank had posted, “Breaking news…..the road to Santiago is closed!” I thought that was hilarious. Many aren’t so thrilled I’m going to be away for 45 days.
Next thing Ray said I did not enjoy hearing. “Come look at this Linda”. What I see is a picture up on FB with Pat seated, right leg extended and elevated, on an ottoman in her living supporting a bag of frozen peas.” Pat had slipped and fallen on wet pavement earlier in the morning delivering something to her friend Suzy!!! Her knee was hurt. I can’t even believe this happened. Melissa had commented on Pat’s FB post saying something like….Well that makes for a good first chapter in a book.
At the airport Pat appears ok. Her leg isn’t hurting much. Pat Wood, who had driven Pat to the airport, had circled around the airport and come back to see if Pat was ok. Ray, Pat, Pat and I all stood around for a few moments joking about what had happened’ taking pictures and then said our goodbyes.
Our first flight to Fort Worth, Dallas passed quickly even though it was about a 2 hour and a half flight. First Class makes every ok.
We are now on a 9.5 hour Business Class flight to Madrid. We were served a nice dinner on trays covered with table linens. Following dinner we were served a hot fudge Sunday made to our liking (I opted for the addition of 1/2 butterscotch and 1/2 hot fudge topping on my dollop of ice cream and all was topped off with a tiny bit of whipped cream.
We were given tablets and Bose head phones to access music, games etc during our flight – free of charge. I watched A Kevin Kostner movie called First Draft. Pat watched Chef.
One needs a college degree to operate the seats we are in. They are as large as some of the massage chairs in Relax The Back stores. There is so much room in front we can push one of the 12 position buttons and nearly lay the chair down to a full out sleeping position. The problem is that even though I only got 3.5 hours of sleep last night, I can’t fall asleep. ( hence this journaling)
I am wearing no jewelry. Not even a watch! Pat isn’t wearing one either. We laugh at how many times we have lifted our arms up to look at the time on an arm with no watch. This is going to be interesting. We really want to let go of needing to know (things). Going with the flow is not in my nature.
I had opened the shade to my window as I liked seeing the night lights below. The steward came by and asked me to close it saying he didn’t want to have to later lean over me to close it as the morning light is really bright after sunrise. I wanted to look at my watch and say ” Sunrise isn’t for xxxx hours!” But I didn’t have a watch to look at! I think I wanted to keep the window shade open so I’d know I was still over land and not the ocean. Ocean crossing flights freak me out for some reason. I asked the steward how long it would be before we started flying over the ocean. He said that he’d find out and let me know. He forgot though.
I better try to get some sleep as Pat is sleeping as I type.
Here is a link to Jen’s multiple exposures: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.clark.37853/posts/10203740054723775?notif_t=close_friend_activity
I’ve uploaded photos from last Saturday’s Keith Douglas Skelton, One Day Winter Workshop at Tejon Pass. Click on this link http://gottago.smugmug.com/Classes-Workshops/20140208-Tejon-Pass/i-MtzN3SM to view all the photos. I photographed some of the workshop participants too.
We’d hoped to have snowy landscapes to photograph but the weather had other ideas in mind. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many photo opportunities to make something out of nothing (not really nothing:-)).
Here is a link to our workshop leader’s website: http://www.keithskeltonphoto.com/#/Portfolios/Universal%20Pictures/1/
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Re: Updates on Ray’s Cancer Cure, Aug 16 – Aug 22, 2013.
Ray and I thank you for all your well wishes and prayers in the form of cards, gifts, texts, emails, and being of service to us. Your supportive love and concern is the bright spot of our days.
Ray’s health has taken a big u-turn for the better. All the many unexpected medical problems are now under control or gone. Ray is only dealing with throat soreness and overall fatigue from the effects of his radiation…. which by the way is tolerable with the pain patches he wears. Ray has one more radiation visit tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 23rd and then ONLY one more week (5 days) of radiation next week. We’ve been told that Ray will experience the continuing effects of the radiation given Aug. 30th for 8 or 9 days following this last radiation treatment. So, we are hoping from September 8th Ray’s pain will begin to diminish over the next four months.
Ray’s salivary glands on the left side of his throat will not come back. Ray has lost all taste buds at this time but we’ve been told they will come back eventually (in whole or partial).
Driving Ray to infusion hydration today I noticed Ray had packed a little instructional gold swing book in his day bag he always brings with him. This is good. He turned and smiled broadly when I noticed the book and said, “I believe you are experiencing some very hopeful positive beliefs regarding returning to golf again in the near future.”
And in anticipation of Ray coming to the Wednesday night meeting next week, he received an at home hair cut yesterday from our hairdresser and friend Kathleen LaBonte.
Again, many thanks to you all for your love and concern.