June 6, 2007

6/6/07 Obanos Spain

Maybe they should call me 'wrong way', but more on that later.

Even without a room full of people making all sorts of noise packing, I still couldn't sleep past 6:30AM.

I guess it shouldn't have surprised me that there were several pilgrims at the bus station, all from Germany. When Marianne asked me a question, I got a chance to talk to them. She's taking the day off to heal some large blisters on her feet while her husband was walking from Pamplona to Puente la Reina. The other two had ankle and knee problems and decided the climbing (and descents) out of Pamplona weren't going to be good so they were also going to Puente la Reina.

Didn't really spend much time in town as it was beginning to get hot. So, I decided it would be better to arrive early in Eunate and relax there. But in Obanis where the two routes separate, I got lost and ended up following the wrong route out of town.

But I was able to get back on track in Muruzabal, only it was a few kilometers out of my way. And on the way, I met Marcos from Germany. It turns out he is Marianne's husband. So we had a good discussion on the way to Eunate.

Beautiful flowers outside someone's home

I knew things were going too well. At the albergue in Eunate, a woman told us that the refugio is closed because the hospitalero is gone for a short vacation. So, I could either walk another 12km under the afternoon sun and maybe not get a bed, or I could walk the 2km back to Obanis to the refugio there. Obanis seemed like a grand idea.

Chapel of Santa Maria de Eunate

Inside the chapel

Virgen of Eunate

Along the way back, I walked with Ana, a Spaniard who lives near Almansa. We talked a bit in Spanish and even though she is going the other way, she gave me her email address so I can trade her Spanish help if I help her with her English.

I am sort of surprised that there are so few pilgrims here, less than ten. But then again, Puente la Reina is only two more kilometers away and it has a lot more services.

So far, I've met Claude who walked from her home in Toulouse and Mellanie from Holland. And also Nieve (means 'snow') who is from Madrid but now lives in Valencia. And she also speaks German and Italian. When she heard I was a physiotherapist, she talked me into giving her a foot and back massage, much to the envy of the other pilgrims. Everyone is quiet and relaxed here at the albergue.

Juan, the hospitalero, doesn't say much but he runs a tight ship here. The refugio is one of the cleanest I've ever seen, and everything is in it's right place. Too bad so few people stop here. There is a peaceful courtyard where we all sat talking too.

So, tomorrow, I once again will walk 'up' and see if I can get closer to France.