Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Roncesvalles - finally internet!
I crossed the Pyrenees to Spain!! In DEEP snow!! First it was lashing rain, then it started to snow, and finally I was fighting my way through deep snow in a snowstorm. Whenever I hit a normal road I saw cars sliding backwards, emergency vehicles helping out, a caravan blocking the road etc., etc. Me and my fellow pilgrims were walking for hours uphill, uphill....., so glad I have the most brilliant pilgrim´s walking stick ever! Taller than me it pushed me up, up until I hit the highest point. Nothing there but more snow and thick fog. I could make out a small church in the clouds and thought that, maybe, finally, I could put my backpack down and eat that banana I´d been dreaming off for the last two hours - but it was closed, hm. Anyways, the abbey of Roncesvalles couldn´t be too far off now and, boy, was I happy when those massive stone buildings came into sight! My hands were freezing at this point, not too bad considering there were people who didn´t bring gloves at all. Mine are mainly against windchill, with extra thinny gloves for more warmth, which were in the bagpack and I couldn´t get to them. It´s not that I´m too stupid to put down the thing, open it & take things out, it´s just that I (like everybody else) was wearing multiple layers, topped off with a big rain poncho. To take that off would´ve meant to stand umprotected in - first: the lashing rain, and then the snowstorm. To put the poncho over oneself and the rucksack is quite tricky too and also, where to sit?? Rivers poured down that mountain - and from my broad rimmed hat whenever I tilted my head. Later it had a thick layer of snow on the rim, which I discovered in the pilgrim´s albergue after taking it off. I´m now in a huge, gothic looking hall, thick stone walls with small slits for windows and impressive, massive round iron chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Hot air is blown up from under the - in my estimation - over a hundred bunk beds, which is such a blessing. Strung up my washing line and am drying clothes, after a lovely sleep (with earplugs) and a hot shower. The more pilgrims arrive the more sweaty the aroma in the hall, but soon it´s 7pm and that means: pilgrims dinner! Can´t wait, absolutely starving! Outside ist everything in deep white and the abbey with it´s church looks quite magical. What a day! Wonder what tomorrow brings ;)