A proper pilgrim night last night. Meaning, much too much to drink and a wonderful dinner of misunderstanding and, sometimes, too much understanding. At the end of which the hostess correctly picked out two troublesome snorers and escorted them off to a 'garage' so that the rest of us would be undisturbed. Unfortunately not Mr 'I am sleeping with my daughter, in the women's dorm, yah? I have special German certification for this!'.
For me the walk today was very enjoyable but tough enough. Partly because the whole morning was in drizzle so it was the usual choice between damp with sweat or damp with rain. Huge elevation changes and streaming wet tracks, we were mostly in high forest with what must have been stunning views, if you weren't in cloud.
The lunch stop was in the apparently super separatist Basque town of Markina-Xemein. We had previously seen a bunch of elderly gentlemen standing under umbrellas discussing something serious in the absolute middle of nowhere, and concluded they were debating which slope to throw the bodies off. In this town we met an Irish chap who'd been here for 25 years, was sketchy on the details as to why, and said he couldn't really go back to Ireland now... Go figure.
After lunch we had better weather but the trails were often muddy streams and the going was very hard because of that. We passed through some lovely small villages including Bolivar, from where began the family of some chap Simon who went on to liberate lots of South America.
Our destination for tonight is a monastery, very old and beautiful, with a tiny packed dorm that also serves as common and dining room for us. I am sceptical much sleep will be had but it's a beautiful spot and, having just about recovered from the cold shower I am looking forward to a spot of vespers. And a proper pilgrim night of a very different kind.
--later, since there is no wifi--
Vespers was lovely, sung by five monks with an average age of about 85. Dinner, long-awaited, was a lukewarm cabbage soup. Ugh. The night was long and snore-filled and the morning began at 5 with an elderly gentleman who didn't understand how to turn off his mobile phone.