(Day 3: 24 km)
We set our alarm for 5:45am, however this was an act in futility and completely unnecessary. Promptly at 0600 the lights go on and a lovely old gentleman/ hospitalier walks the dormitory singing Ave Maria.. loudly. The sun has not risen and the air has a refreshing chill in it. We pack up and don our headlamps. Without our headlamps, it is pitch black, a phenomenon that is rare where I live. We walk in the dark under a canopy of trees.
Pelegrinos speak in quiet whispers as they make their way upon the Camino. A calf threads his way under the stretched barbed wire to literally see if the grass is greener on the other side. His mother, alarmed, tries to follow but gets caught in the fencing. Just as we are about to climb into the pasture, she frees herself…thankfully.
The final descent is brutal and my knee is screaming in muffled tones as we make our way into Zuburri hopefully in enough time to secure a place for the night. As luck would have it, there is no room at any of the albergues. Apparently one needs to book ahead if you are to arrive after 12 pm or so. We are in luck, as the hospitalier for the Zuburri albergue that Jerry has shipped his bag to is able to find us two places in which to stay. Sue and Jerry are given a room in an apartment next to the albergue and we secure a bed at an “albergue” 2km away.
One of the owners, Jesus picks us up. He understands enough English and I understand enough Spanish to be able to communicate in bits and pieces as we travel to his home. At first we are a little apprehensive about going to a private home, but we arrive to a refrigerator full of beer and a pool and find ourselves at “home” and a little sorry for leaving Sue and Jerry in town. We are met by his wife, Pury who speaks splendid English and gives us the lay of the land. We bask in the perfect chill of the pool in our skivvies (because they don’t care and neither does the 70 year old Dutchman in his underwear as well) drinking beers and trading stories of life, love and travels. When I check my phone to confirm our dinner plans with Sue and Jerry, Sue advises that they are able to do laundry…for “free”, so I guess there is a trade off of sorts. Jesus graciously transports us back to town and the local brassiere (brew Pub) to have dinner with Sue and Jerry. He has arranged to have the bartender call him when we are done. In the Pub we find several other pelegrinos that we have met along the way and have grand conversations and hearty laughs. The world shrinks again and again. Once back at our ” albergue ” we are able to make arrangements with Jesus and Pury to pick up Sue and Jerry in the morning and bring them here, saving them 2km. We roll out our hide-a-bed couch and along with the father and son Spaniards in the next room snicker loudly and lament the fact that we have not fallen asleep before the snore-fest begins. As with everything it seems, timing is essential.