September 14, 2002

9/14/02 Larrasoaña

28 km

By 6am, you could hear people packing in the dark, and by the time the lights came on an hour later, almost everyone was up and ready to go. Dawn was just breaking as Angela and I left the monastery.

Along with many other pilgrims, we stopped in Burguete for a pleasant cup of coffee and a sweet roll. The walk was off the road and often paved with stone as we would our way through Espinal and Biscarreta. Then we started to climb again.

Follow the yellow arrows

Most of the time we walked a rocky trail on jeep track (two parallel ruts) under the trees as we made our way up. This section would be typical of the Appalachian Trail in the USA. Saw many small lizards and the grasshoppers have blue wings. It seemed as if Angela and I had the trail all to ourselves, but when I stopped a bit for a quick snack, I was shocked at how many people passed me in just a few minutes.

The descent down into Zuburi was steep and very rocky. This trail would be very dangerous if it was raining. We entered town across an old Gothic bridge. The town's name in Basque means "the town with the bridge". We ended up walking a long ways to get lunch at a restaurant. After salad, paella, tuna in a tomato sauce and ice cream, we both felt refreshed if but a bit full.

Roman bridge to Zuburi

I thought the rest of our day would be downhill as we followed the River Arga downstream. But no! We immediately started climbing again and with no shade. Looks as if I'm going to get a real good sunburn on my shoulders today. Amongst all this European charm, we had to pass a large magnesite (used in making rubber and fertilizer) factory.

As we talked, I found out Angela can speak French, Spanish, English and even Russian. A truly talented woman. But she met her fiancé as an English Literature Major in college.

Foot sore and tired

Finally, foot sore and tired, we arrived at the refugio in Larrasoaña. Because it only had 34 beds, just mattresses on the floor, it filled quickly. But the hot shower sure felt good. And I discovered I have a blister on my little toe on my left foot. Bummer.