The albergue still wasn’t opened when I arrived in Roncesvalles. In fact it wouldn’t open until 4 p.m. That meant I had a couple of hours to kill. I met up with Jo Anne and Moya and we had a sandwich and some wine at one of the local restaurants. Then we went to the entranceway to the albergue where we set down our packs and laid in the grass, enjoying the warm sunshine.
Talk turned to tonight’s dinner. In most places, what’s known as a Pilgrim’s Meal is served. It’s a full three courses for the unbeatable price of about 9 euros, and it’s what we were planning on eating that evening, given that there was no marcato in Roncesvalles where we could buy groceries and no kitchen in the albergue where we could cook. Jo Anne predicted dinner would be pasta, trout, french fries, and yoghurt or ice cream for dessert. I told her I would buy her a beer if she was right. She was, right down to the last detail. Guess that’s the advantage of having done three other Caminos.
Finally we were allowed into the albergue. Since we were among the first to arrive, we pretty much had our pick of beds. I chose a top bunk along one wall, thinking that spot would provide me with a tiny bit of privacy. At least I wouldn’t have to sleep inches from a perfect stranger.
I went about my routine of showering and washing clothes, and then snuggled down into my sleeping bag. The sounds of the many languages being spoken in this great hall echoed off the stone walls, creating a wonderfully soothing lullaby. That, along with the classical music playing softly throughout the building allowed me to doze off. One of the last things I did was snap a photo of the sunlight streaming in through a slit of a window high above me.