The church bells gentle tolling tells me it is 6 o’clock. I’ve been awake but had a good sleep. The mountain I need to cross today is the last of the big climbs for a while. At the top are some wind generators I saw when I was coming in yesterday and feature in the movie.
Because I slept late yesterday arvo, I showered this morning and did my laundry as well because this refuge has a dryer.
There isn’t anything in the vending machine that appeals for breakfast but I have the cheese and chorizo I bought yesterday to sustain me. I must hunt out another peach.
By 8 am nearly everyone has left and as soon as the clothes finish so will I.
I stop at the little shop and buy a big peach for 0.65.
I head off and am soon on a rocky muddy path through the fields. Met more Koreans. Me Cheong went out of his way to introduce himself and gave me a formal bow which I fumbles the return of.
I stop for breakfast and mix a paracetamol a little after which I can feel the effect of.
I’m thinking of my daughter Laura who has been accepted in the Disney internship and will be in Florida next January. I know how excited she must be.
I start climbing up the side of the mountain huffing and puffing and get passed by Dave from Tucson retiree on no particular timetable other than to avoid being left behind by his woman.
At Zariquiegui there is a group of pilgrims busying breakfast and I enter lolling for a suitable snack. I spy a banana ANC ask and the lady provides but then waves me off for payment. I gratefully accept and leave.
Outside I meet two Australian ladies from Perth. I head on up the hill by going down first to catch the side street. The path is rocky, narrow and muddy and it takes a lot of perseverance to push on but I know that at the top I will get to the pilgrim monument, a memorable scene in the film. The path is not particularly steep but it is arduous and the closer to the top the windier and noisier it gets from the massive wind turbines.
I make and collapse on the corner of a plinth. Water! That’s better!
I call Ali but no responses. After a bit I get a text message. I call back and congratulate Laura but she’s out with friends.
Aussie John from Brunswick obliges a photo and I return the favour. After bidding “gidday” to Dave and Co
I start the descent which comes with a warning and so it should. It’s a gully of boulders up to the size of a softball and it’s really testing my knee but I take it real slow and manage to get down. I spy a bench and stop for lunch of cheese.
A few Bon appetites go by.
On the track again and eventually get to Uterga. There’s a bunch of perigringos at the Albergue. I stand there considering staying but moved on anyway.
It’s one of those decisions you immediately question but having stepped forward there’s no stepping back. It gets tough.
I struggle into Muruzábal and rest on a bench and polish off the chorizo and the rest of the cheese.
I’m refreshed and can actually see Orbanos across the valley.
It’s a nice path and halfway across the trees start singing to me.
Under a tunnel with more messages about this not being Spain but Basque Country and a long concrete road ascent to Obaños. Around the cement mixer and follow the shells to the Albergue.
It’s 4 pm and I think I’m the first customer and after pegging out the clothes I go to sleep. I’m exhausted and aching all over. I wake about 6.30 shivering as usual.
I hear mass is a 7 so I get up and go running into Texan Connie on the way. The mass lasts 30 minutes and I’m able to follow a bit better than Sunday. For a small village the church is spectacular with multiple retablos.
The cantina serves diner at 8. I head down a little after and join Phyllis and Bill from Tuscon. They don’t know Dave and Co. Later joined by Connie from Texas and sister Lenni and friend Catherine from Canada.
Off to the cantina for dinner with Conni Lenni and Catherine as well as
Phyllis and Bill from Tucson. Later young Steve from London turns up.
I’ve had a little too much wine and Steve notes that it’s door shutting time so off the bed. It will not be a good night.
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