Tuesday 18th April St. Jean Pied a Port

It was a long trip down to Bayonne, where we had a few minutes enjoying warmth we are not accustomed to, before we got on the bus to St. Jean. Six years ago it was a bus as well! Why? “Track works.” The tracks look very rusty and my suspicion is that there has been no use of it for years.

But at least Alison went an snaffled the front seat on the bus while I loaded the bags, so we had quite a scenic ride. An hour later we were in St. Jean, 15 minutes early. All the other people drifted away; we waited for Nadine, from our Airbnb accommodation, who was coming to pick us up. But before she did, Fran and Rick walked up. So we chatted; Nadine appeared, and took us to her little new apartment overlooking fields and mountains. It is small, but very clean and well equipped – at least with utensils. No spices or anything like that – but that's a small criticism.

We dropped our stuff, texted Fran and Rick, and walked back into town along the river. It was very scenic; and we didn't know how long it would take. The answer was – remarkably – 10 minutes. We feel like we're way out in the country here but it's quite close.

We had a good dinner; a fairly standard peregrino dinner and enjoyable. We left at 10pm and walked home; the town was very quiet but there was street lighting all the way home.

Wednesday 19th April St. Jean Pied a Port

It was a comfortable bed and a good sleep. We got up and – after sorting things out a bit and doing a load of washing in the machine here – we went into town, and up to the Peregrino Office. We bought our Credeciales and got various other documents – which made me remember getting them last time as well, when we'd lost our books on the train and had limited information. Then texted Fran and Rick and had a coffee and a late breakfast with them.

Then – practicalities. We went over to the Carrefours supermarket for food for the next day or two. This took quite a while; we went to the boulangerie, bought some baguettes (yummy!) and all went back to our apartment for lunch. Sitting on the balcony in the sun. Very nice.

Then off to the Lidl supermarket to finish things off. Fran and Rick left us, and we walked home, buying some more money on the way. Our strike rate for the ATM giving us money is ~50% - I don't know why.

Back home, I did a lot of stuff on the computer. Emails, banks; I looked up some options on where to go, and accommodation, after Orisson tomorrow. In the end, I tried ringing one – but got no answer. We may just go to Burguete and see what we find.

Alison had been out for tomatoes (for the ratatouille she made); she got back, we read a bit, and she made a good dinner here. Now we have to try to pack our packs for tomorrow. I think they may be quite heavy going up to Hostal Karola, but even though it's uphill it is only ~7km away so we should manage it.

St. Jean Pied a Port is a really nice little town; we would have been better spending our last pre-camino time here rather than in Bayonne.

We had dinner at home – ratatouille and sausages; put our last things on to wash, hung them out – at least Alison did; I was keeping warm in bed; and went to bed. Tomorrow we start to walk.

Thursday 20th April Hostal Kayola

The alarm was set for 7.15am; we woke earlier. It dawned a beautiful day with some frost on the grass. Breakfast, and pack our packs up; everything fitted thanks to my big pack, except for all the non-squashable food. So we carried a bag of this, but it was very light.

We said goodbye to Nadine ~9.15am; after a very misinterpreted English / French conversation we eventually found she has been renting out the units only since last July. We walked into town, up to the Peregrino Office to donate our excess clothing (jeans and shirt) and walked up to yesterday's cafe. We met Fran and Rick there, had a coffee, and set out.

After a group photo at the Porte de Espagne, off we went. The road went quite steeply uphill – more than I remember. We chatted to some others on the way up; had a break by a farm,; and had a minor interruption with a flock of sheep walking up the road to change paddocks. Then, the track went onto a gravel path, steeply uphill with a number of zigzags; this was slow going and also steeper than I remember. Eventually we regained the bitumen road, and then, very shortly after, we came across people sitting at the locked gate of Hostal Kayola, where we were booked in.

Five minutes later a lady drove up and let us in. There is a double room downstairs, and an upstairs room with six bunks and four beds. I tactfully (I think) managed to get upstairs first and snaffled the beds for us.

It was a beautiful sunny day. We went and ate our lunch at the tables outside in the sun. It was really nice; warm sun, great view back down to St. Jean....

Then a shower, wash clothes and hang them out; then... reading in the sun; talking; Alison gathered firewood later when a chill appeared in the air. A very pleasant relaxing afternoon and a much nicer way to start the camino than going straight through to Roncevalles. As it got cooler Alison collected some kindling and then lit the fire – without paper. She is very clever – but we did find the firelighters after the blaze was well alight.

All the others here have gone off to Hostal Orisson, 1km further up the road; for dinner. We have brought dinner with us – which should make for lighter packs tomorrow. By 6pm Alison, having lit the fire without paper after collecting a lot of kindling, had made our dinner of ratatouille with pasta, which we ate with Jean-Charles' dry sausage, with profiteroles and tiramisu for dessert. It was very nice.

There was no point in staying up too late. The others returned, but no-one stayed up too long. Then it was into the peregrino way of sleeping with ear plugs and various noises in the night – the moreso for people keeping the fire fed all night.

Friday 21st April Burguete

The lady in the peregrino office in St. Jean had suggested not staying in Roncevalles, but continuing 3km further to Burguete – where there is no albergue but many accommodation options. It was good advice, and we have ended up here.

We got up before dawn – because everyone else was, because everyone was going to hostal Orisson for breakfast. Orisson is ½ hour up the road, and breakfast is 7.00 – 7.30 only. Fair enough. So we left before the sun was up; it was remarkably warm after last night's chill, and Orissson was no far up. So we had breakfast. A very basic breakfast of coffee and toasted baguette – really, a ripoff. And only one toilet for all the people from both Kayola and Orisson. Not really enough.

Anyway – at 7.45 we set out up the hill. There was a strong cold wind a lot of the time, but a clear sky. As yesterday, there was more uphill than I remembered. But no problem, really. Alison and I began with a degree of misunderstanding / argument; I thought we should press on a bit faster than Fran and Rick, she thought she'd like to walk with them a bit over the Pyrenees. As with many things like this, it didn't amount to much; we kept meeting up with them at intervals all the way to the top anyway. Along the way, beside the road, we found a new bicycle basket, and, nearby, all its fittings. How did it get there? I've no idea. But not good to let it rust in a ditch, so I attached it to the back of my pack.

It is a very scenic walk. There are no toilets. We'd had a lot of coffee at breakfast. So we both managed a surrepticious wee sitting next to the track at the statue of the virgin, after the last steep climb up the road.

Soon after this this the track left the road and turned into a gravel track. We soon found ourselves at the old “765km to Santiago” sign, then at a water fountain (where Alison found me the first cycling gloves of the camino – and a pair at that!) and the cattle grid marking the Spanish border. Here, an emergency telephone has been installed since our last time here.

Into Spain. The track kept climbing at a variable rate; near the top we took off our packs and stopped for some lunch. This was a good idea; others did too, and after a little Fran and Rick joined us. Refuelled, we continued, we soon got to the top, then to the steep descent through the forest to Roncevalles. It was a long way down.

We had decided to go straight to Burguete, and we did. After finding three peregrinos walking towards us – and thinking “oh no, the town is booked out” they said they'd been to Santiago and were walking home to France. Phew! So we started asking about accommodation, and soon found a lovely “Casa Rural”, “Pedroarena”, run by Maria Pilar, where we moved in and booked a room for Fran and Rick as well. We dumped our stuff, took off our boots, and walked back along the track to Roncevalles. And we gave Maria Pilar the bicycle basket.

Walking without a pack was lovely, and easy. We met Fran and Rick just before Roncevalles; they continued to Burguete, us to Roncevalles. We had a coffee (much cheaper than in France) and went and looked at the albergue. There was huge queue waiting to book in; we were very happy we're not staying there. Then back to Burguete.

A shower. Clean! We gave Maria Pilar a load of washing, then went for a walk around town. We went to Hotel Loizu which she'd recommended for a menu peregrino, and booked in; then down to the supermarket for some food for the weekend. A very nice proprietor there. After buying food I bought some beer and we drank it in the sun outside.

And walked back through town. It is very nice here. And we have a room with double bed, sheets and towels, and ensuite bathroom – for not much more cost than an albergue.

And I find it so much easier here with the language – it is much easier to enquire and arrange things in Spanish for me. But we are all feeling the muscle stiffness of early days on a walk!

The menu peregrino was very good.

Saturday 22nd April Zubiri

The church clock kept ringing the hour all night. But we slept reasonably well, went and had breakfast at 7.30am (much better than yesterday's) and at 8.15 we set off. Out of town, up and down into the little town of Espinal where we bought some bread; then off again. It was a very social walk with lots of people to talk to. We stopped for a coffee at Viskarret, walked through the little village of Linzoain, where we ate an orange at a playground, and Alison (and another peregrino) had a swing, then went steeply uphill. We were heading for the “Alto de Erro”, a high point; but it was a long time in coming, and when we finally got there – after a stop for water and chocolate – the approach to it was flat!

But it was followed by a steep descent down a rocky dusty path to Zubiri. A long way down. By the time we got there I was feeling footsore and thinking it was high time we were there. (I was also probably hungry – it was 2.20pm, and we'd not had lunch). We booked into the municipal albergue, but had to have a shower and wash our clothes before we were able to eat lunch.

It is Day 3 and I have a blister on my left foot. That's how it is.

It is a sunny afternoon and it has been quite relaxing. Fran and Rick turned up an hour or so later and got beds here too.

Now its 6pm and I'm getting a bit sleepy. We all had dinner in the albergue kitchen of a nice thick soup made of all our vegetables – notably the cauliflower, carried here from France.

Sunday 23rd April Huarte

It was not a good night's sleep. I was tired; I stayed quietly in my bunk; but there was lots of opening and closing of the door, electronic device noises, lights here and there; some of the Koreans opposite had left well before dawn. We got up before dawn, too; I turned on the light when nearly everyone was up.

We had muesli and tea for breakfast, and got away at 8.15am. The rest overnight may have not been the best, but it did my foot good; with a hypafix over the blister it was quite easy to walk on.

We headed off for Larrasoana, 5km away, for our morning coffee. It was a pleasant walk undulating up and down on a track away from the road. Larrasoana was quite a nice little village; but it was a Sunday morning and nothing was open. A machine coffee from the albergue was possible, but we both wanted something better. So after a brief stop we continued on.

Another 5km brought us to the village of Zaroain, and there was a cafe on the river at the entrance to the village. Doing a roaring trade, of course; but pleasant staff (who complimented me on my Spanish) and a good coffee and chat to various other peregrinos. Alison played a game “juego de rana” and was very good at it.

We were making good time. We continued towards Pamplona. We crossed the old stone bridge we'd stopped at last time, and again went and put our feet in the water. It was nice. There was a fly fisherman there being very successful in catching trout.

Boots on, and on again. The kilometres become longer at the end of the day. We were heading for Huarte, which our CSJ book said had an albergue with consistently good reports. It is a little way off the main track. We followed the book's instructions, and found an unsigned turnoff at the right place. Was it the right route? A family was walking up; I asked, and – yes it was. (Most people wouldn't find it!). They lived in Huarte, so we walked there with them along a road made of sone slabs and railway sleepers. Very unusual. When we got to Huarte, they took us to the albergue.

The albergue is on the main square; it was very busy – there had been a running competition there in the morning. The albergue was locked; we had to go to a nearby bar to book in. The bar was flat out; but eventually we booked in and a lady brought us over – with apologies for it not being clean. It certainly was not! There had been a big group in and it was very grubby. So we spent an hour or more sweeping, cleaning, washing the floors; it is now much better. And it has been worth it because, after Fran and Rick eventually arrived (their John Brierley book being different to ours) we have the whole place to ourselves. And it is a big place.

We went and had a coffee in the bar across the square, then had a walk around town – finding, amongst other things, which route to take out tomorrow. Then had to find somewhere to eat; our choices very limited, being Sunday night and out of a peregrino area. We ended up at the same cafe, with low expectations, but ended up having a very good meal.

Now it's a cup of tea here, and soon to bed. Tomorrow Pamplona, which is only ~ ½ hour away so no need for an early start.

Monday 24th April Pamplona

What a sleep! The best so far; and a slow wake-up with no rush. We had a morning shower as well; a nice breakfast of muesli and yoghurt from the fridge; and we packed up. Alison mentioned that she couldn't open the fire door she'd closed last night; she was quite correct. No-one could open it; we had no way out. So in the end I had to call from the balcony overlooking the square (now nearly deserted after yesterday's busy fiesta) to call the albergue lady from the bar. She came and from the outside opened it easily – so we had no problem. (But still it doesn't open from the inside; it will need fixing.)

We four set off for Pamplona. We let Fran and Rick lead the way, to get them in the swing of looking for the signs of where to go – which, in big cities, you need to pay more attention to. Eeventually we finally got to the historic bridge of Puente Magdalena into the old town.

We had decided, en route, that if we could get into the riverside albergue Casa Pederhorn, we'd stay in Pamplona for the day. We got there at 10.20 am and were assured of a place; so we left our bags and went up into Pamplona via the elevator. A short wander, a coffee and cake in Cafe Iruna, and we found our way back to Casa Pederhorn at midday to check in.

We have found many people whom we met a Kayola here – along with other new faces. It is a lovely clean albergue in a wonderful setting; we are in a 4-bed room with Barbara and Jorge from Germany, overlooking the river.

After checking in, we went down to the river for a picnic of some very good bread we'd bought on the way here. Artisanal and much better than the standard stuff.

The we offered to backup Rick's photos. So we met them up at the Plaza de Toros, they came down here, and we used our computer to do it. Done, we took them up to see Cafe Iruna. We left them and went for a walk north to the “zoo” in the old moat and then back around the city walls.

Back to Casa Pederhorn for a shower and wash clothes. And soon it was time to out to dinner – a menu peregrino, with Fran & Rick, at Cafeteria Palace - which, when we got there, we realised we'd eaten at last time. And been served by the same waiter – who when we asked said he'd worked there for 14 years and remembered Alison from 6 years ago!

We had a pleasant last dinner with them, and returned to Casa Pederhorn. Here, our washing will be dry by the morning. Incredibly almost every day we've had no trouble drying our washing. But tonight there is – unusually – a lot of cloud in the sky.

Barbara and Jorge have gone to sleep. We will all get up at 6am tomorrow, to get going early; Alison and I are doing our computer work in the salon downstairs.

Tuesday 25th April Puente de la Reina

A good sleep. Not surprising, in such a nice albergue. We were woken by soft religious choral music at 6am – a very gentle way to get everyone up. Then after a reasonable Spanish breakfast (tea / coffee & toast) we were on our way across and out of Pamplona at 7.10 am. A good early start.

We went up in the elevator, and at the other side of the Ciudadela we met the stream of other peregrinos. There was some light rain and we had put on our ponchos – which went off and on for much of the day, (though by the time the rain got heavy we were in our albergue.) Through the university, then through the little satellite town of Cizur Menor, and we were back in the country – heading for the Alto de Perdon, the top of a ridge with a line of wind turbines. Lots and lots of them.

The track went gradually higher; after 2+ hours we got to the village of Zaraquiegui, where there was a bar attached to a (really nice) auberge. So we of course stopped for a coffee and tortilla before continuing on to the top, where there is a line of pilgrims cut from steel plate. There was also a food van, which we'd expected but didn't use.

The descent down the other side was quite steep and on a base of large stones. Not the nicest sort of walk. But then it flattened out and became easier. We walked through Uterga, heading (sort of) for Obanos, where there was an albergue under a hotel which seemed nice. Alison was keener on continuing 2km further to Puente de la Reina; as it turned out, the albergue really was in Puente de la Reina. We looked at it and booked in – in a 6-bunk room. At present the only other occupant is a 66 year old man from North Carlton.

(Most of the people we saw last night in the albergue we have not seen today. Maybe they left later and stopped short of us?)

By now it was 2pm. We were very hungry. We walked into the Dia Supermarket in town and bought food for lunch and for dinner. There is a reasonable kitchen here. And home for lunch.

It has rained on and off all afternoon; despite this I have done my washing anyway and hung it out under cover.

We went for a walk to the bridge and back before dinner; I was hungry and bought three Dia icecreams to eat on the way home. They were nice. As we got close to the albergue rain started again. We brought in the washing and have managed to find a heater to put it on. Now, we're cooking risotto for dinner; no-one else here is cooking.

Wednesday 26th April Estella

it wasa good sleep; I had an open window at my head, and blankets instead of sleeping bag. We heard Graeme getting up at 6.10am, so we did too; took all our stuff out to the lounge to pack there, had muesli and tea in the kitchen, and set off at 7.10.

It was cold. The sky was overcast and threatening; there were drops of rain during the day but never enough to get out the poncho. The day's walk was relatively flat – but there were some steepish uphill bits. Through the hilltop villages of Maneru and Cirauqui (Cirauqui particularly picturesque) without finding a bar open; then along to Lorca, where there finally was one. At this stage we were over ½ way through the day's walking. We spoke here to a couple from Ballarat. We've met many more Australians this time than last.

The day was quite scenic, but cold. We wondered where we would walk to; so we stopped for a second coffee in Villatuerta, and decided not to stop there. It seemed a newish soulless town to a degree. So we continued to Estella, eating our sandwich we'd made this morning so we didn't arrive famished, and thought about staying there; but decided to go on a little. A minute later we passed the municipal auberge and booked in there; so, we are in Estella tonight. It is a big auberge but it seems quite nice. We selected end bunks on the top floor, had a shower, and did our washing. All done by 2pm. Though whether the washing will dry is another matter.

I read my book for a while – the first time for four days. Even with early stopping there sometimes seems to be little spare time while walking, etc. We went for a walk around the town, which is a good mixture of new and old; it has some massive old buildings but also a lot of new ones, and it works well.

There is a good kitchen here but we think we will go out to dinner tonight. The auberge is full and the kitchen may be crowded.

There may be lots of peregrinos in town – but we walked around finding little evidence of them. Few people we recognised at all, and not many places with menus peregrinos. We were hungry, but it was early; we finally settled on Restaurant Casanova, which served us a little after 7pm. It was delicious and well worth waiting for.

Then home, and to bed.

We have found much less sociability recently on the camino than we expect; and many more Australians than we came across last time, when we found hardly any. But all this may change.

Thursday 27th April Los Arcos

Sleep was not bad – though a group at the other end of the dormitory, in the far bay, got up and left at ?4.30am. We didn't get up till after 6am. The Taiwanese man with no English or Spanish left before us; without his towel. So I carried it with me in the hope of finding him again.

We didn't set off from Estella until after a visit to the panaderia, as we planned to take the scenic route passing no towns today. So leaving was not till 7.30am.

It was a bit more sociable today, interspersed with periods of walking on our own. As we were being more remote we stopped for a coffee – machine, but.... at Azegui, which is really a suburb of Estella. We continued, stopping at Bodegas Irache, at the famous wine fountain; and there it was, but it was quite early in the day and no-one was heading for the wine tap – everyone was having water.

Shortly after this the track split; the usual route via Villamayor de Monjardin, or the more scenic route skipping it. We went the scenic route, and it was very good; uphill through forest for a lot of the way, with excellent views over Monjardin and the surrounding area.

This was in stark contrast to the route after it rejoined the main path, which was mostly on flat gravel roads between fields of grain – barley? It was sunny, but with a very cold wind; we stopped for lunch in a sheltered spot, then continued to the town of Los Arcos, arriving ~1.30pm.

As usual, our feet were feeling it as we approached our destination. Where to stay? No municipal albergue here – the easy choice. We met Graeme in the plaza – he was staying in a private room. We felt no need for that.

So we've come to the IsaacSantiago albergue, where we stayed last time. It is run by a Belgian group and is very nice – especially as we've been put in a 4-bed room with a Danish couple. Then the usual shower and washing – including my shorts, which I hope will dry in the cold wind.

And – we found the Taiwanese man here and were able to return his towel! He was so happy he took our photo.

We went out to the shop to get food for dinner. It was really cold; a clear blue sky and a freezing wind. I had to wear long johns and my puffer jacket over my vest. We bought some extras to add to the noodles we'd carried from France, and made dinner of it all. Plenty of dinner, accompanied by wine, with plenty of social chit-chat.

And the washing is all dry! Again we will leave with everything washed and dry.

Friday 28th April Logroño

I was woken by the alarm clock at 6.11am – and I hadn't even known it was on! We had our usual departure and were out on the way to Viana at 7am. It was clear, and cold.There was a frost in some parts, and my hands felt cold – but still no need to wear more excess clothes than my vest. We intended to walk only as far as Viana, some 15km; the full “stage” to Logrono being 27.8km.

It was 6km to Sansol; there was a little shop here selling coffee, but it didn't tempt us. We continued all of 1km to Torres del Rio and found a good bar, and sat in the sun on their terrace. We chatted to a Polish couple there – she a psychiatrist. It was pleasant.

We set off. The Polish couple walked faster than us, so we were on our own again; but not for long – we walked into Viana talking to Melissa from Atlanta, USA.

We left her getting a stamp at the church, bought some food for lunch, had another coffee; and decided, it being a fine day and poorer weather in the offing, that we would continue on from Viana. Our plan was to stop at some wetlands 3km on, but as we didn't really recognise them; and we were talking again, me to Sebastian from Brazil in a mixture of English and Spanish; so we ended up just walking to Logroño, arriving at 2pm carrying food and hungry, after talking to an Austrian couple the last part of the way.

We booked in to the municipal albergue, our usual haunt. We ate the food we'd carried, showered, washed our clothes. There are many people here whom we know, though few whose names we know.

After a little rest we had a walk around town, went to the supermarket, and came home. The back yard of the albergue, where the washing is, was now in shadow; Alison decided to carry it, on its airer, out into the street where there was still good sun. So here we are with the locals walking by.

Then – after being told off by the hostalero on bringing the airer back in again – we went to Cafe Moderno for a menu peregrino. Disappointing. But when we got back to the auberge the kitchen was crowded and noisy as well – so that would not have been a good option either.

So to bed, and hope tomorrow ends better.

Saturday 29th April Ventosa

It was not a great sleep; a stuffy room, with only one small window, which was closed. Despite not hurrying we were on our way out of Logroño by 7.30 am. We were not sorry to be leaving this big city. We stopped to buy some money, and continued – through suburbia. The track went through a park; we were expecting the lake we remembered, but it was a long time coming – because it was 6km away. After walking across the dam wall we got to a cafe overlooking the lake, with lots of familiar faces sitting outside.

It was too early for us to take a break. We continued on, getting to Navarette at 10.30am. We had entertained thoughts of staying there, but it was still early and the town was bigger and more commercial than we remembered. So after a look at the amazing 3-storey high baroque altarpiece in the church, we had a coffee and bought some food in a supermarket. (It is Saturday morning now.) Then, loaded up with food, we set off again, planning to walk 7km more to Ventosa, a small village slightly off the camino.

At least, it used to be off the camino; the signs showing the direct route seem to have been removed, so now everyone is routed through Ventosa. The walk there was rather boring – along a flat gravel road, next to a busy road the other side of a cyclone wire fence for a lot of it.

We got there at 1.30pm and booked into the albergue. It seems a very nice one; we are in a 10-bunk room with a good window. We ate, showered, washed our clothes; so far, the threatened rain has not happened. And had a little walk around the little village, going up to the church, helping a man split a block of wood (it took me four blows with the axe) and then having a beer in one of the two bars here. Back to the albergue where the sun is still shining and there is time to read.

Here, the hostaleria (who has been working here for 10 years) was saying how it has changed in the past few years; much more forwarding of luggage and carrying day packs only; and she has to accept anyone with a Pilgrim Passport, but some of them have arrived with suitcases! We have certainly seen far more “peregrinos” carrying only day packs than we saw last time we walked here.

Sunday 30th April Azofra

Last night, the Italian man in the bunk opposite closed the window as he got into bed. Why? 12 people sleeping in the room, and the only window closed? So when he appeared to be asleep, I reached over and opened it.

I'd expected to be woken by music at 6am – but this did not happen. People started getting up when it was getting light outside, and it was 6.45am when I discovered what time it was. Late! So after eating the last of our muesli it was 7.45 when we left the albergue. Fortunately it was not planned to be a big day. We set off for Najera, 10km away. It was cloudy / misty with rain predicted for later. Remarkably we saw hardly any other peregrinos on the track, despite a large number having left the albergue about when we did. Were they all in a bar having breakfast?

The walk was pleasant to begin with, but there was a substantial walk through the industrial outskirts of Najera before we got to a town proper. When we did, we came across an open little supermarket. On a Sunday, before 10am! Times have changed in Spain. So we bought some bread and some food for dinner, then continued on through the rather drab town down to the nice area next to the river. We crossed the bridge and stopped for a coffee.

When we were ready to continue, the first raindrops fell. Ponchos on; but nothing much more eventuated. We walked on to Azofra, talking en route to a girl from NZ walking slowly with sore feet. We held her pace for a while but then had to leave her.

At 11.30, we got to Azofra – a very little town – and went into the albergue which we remembered fondly from six years ago. It looked at least six years older, and the price had gone up a lot. €4.00 to €10.00. There was a line of ~ 8 backpacks with tags on them awaiting shipment to the next town. The camino is changing. We wondered. Stay or go? I rang the only accommodation in the next town, and everything was booked out. So we stayed.

It was the right decision, I think; soon after the predicted cold front swept through with strong winds and rain. Various other peregrinos, some of whom we know by sight, arrived; one we didn't know arrived by taxi.

We talked, eaten lunch, walked around town when the weather permitted. The dining room area is full because few people are venturing out.