Oysters are Hermaphrodites

Roncesvalles to Zubiri
Saturday 1 November

Snoring. That’s the problem with hostels… Perhaps I’ll get a better sleep tonight. Perhaps. Yes, even I though I was in a pod of only four the hostel was still rather open, and all the snoring from every pod could still be heard. I need better earplugs.

Again we had to be out by eight. I rose showered and at 7.30, my new Camino family and I headed out for breakfast at a local bar. All that was on offer was coffee and toast. The Spanish do coffee better than the French. Thank God. I had been hoping for eggs for breakfast, but that was not to be. We had planned to be on the road by eight, but didn’t end up leaving until 8.30. The others all said that they would provide lunch for today and that a cheese, bread and wine picnic, was a delightful idea, so we stopped at a local shop for supplies.

Surprisingly I was I the mood for fast walking. The Italian from the previous day, a pharmacist had now joined us, along with the younger Irishman, a 28 year old primary school teacher. They were faster than the rest of the group, so I walked ahead with them. We stopped at a spring to refill our water bottles, and I left my walking poles to rest on a nearby building. We continued on, and about one kilometer on, I realised that I’d forgotten my poles. I returned to get them, and caught up with the others, then went ahead to meet my friends. The younger Irishman, had walked back and was waiting for me. He said it was lucky I had returned for my sticks, as because we were talking too much, we had missed the turnoff. We were really not paying attention, as the road here was covered in yellow arrows, the Camino markers. Our Italian friend had raced ahead, and we all soon spread out and were walking at our own pace.

I again caught up with the younger Irish guy and we walked together enjoying the conversation and the company. We then decide we were hungry so began to look for a suitable place to wait for the others, as they had the lunch supplies. We soon arrived at a small river, and found a shady spot. About half an hour later the others joined us for our picnic. We were having a very enjoyable leisurely time, and two hours passed easily, so we thought we had better get on the road.

Fifteen minuets later we saw a bar, and it was suggested we stop for a drink. It was a long weekend in Spain, and many families and friends were out enjoying the sunshine, so we decided to join them. Our young Irish friend picked up a guitar from the bar and entertained the crowd with a few songs. A group with twin babies bought the twins over to say hello and have a chat. We waved to a Spanish group from Barcelona we had met earlier. Soon we thought it was best we continue on our way. We walked along together or a while, and again spread out to walk at our own pace. I was walking by myself for some time, but soon caught up with the Spanish group from Barcelona. One of the group had very good English so we chatted for a while, he had been a tour guide in Sydney for Spanish speaking groups. After a while he said I was waking too fast for him, and for me to go ahead.

I again caught up with the young Irish man who was now sitting with two French woman and a large St. Bernard like dog. I stopped for a while, then we continued on together into Zubiri. The first hostel we came to was full. The next one looked very nice. Beds were 15€ per night including breakfast and only four beds to a room. We said there would be five of us, as our friends were joining later. They had room, so we checked in. When met up with the French women and their dog – they had occupied a private twin room. I said the guys could share the room for four and I would stay in the other four bed dorm and chance it with whoever arrived. Not long later the Spanish group from Barcelona also arrived. They wanted to share a room for four all together. The hostel manager then offered the young Irish man and I a private twin for the same price if we would move, we happily accepted, hoping we would both have a snore free night. The rest of our group arrived and after showers we headed out to dinner with the French woman sans dog.

We ended up at a nearby bar and met up with our Italian and Dutch friends. I was chatting with the French women, one who was an oyster farmer… I exclaimed that they were my favorite food, and she was explaining to me all about the oyster industry in France, and the fact that oysters are hermaphrodites – you learn something new every day! The wine and conversation flowed. We ordered the pilgrims menu – I had a salad, and tomatoes stuffed with cod, and really delicious chocolate icecream. I returned to the hostel, hopefully for a snore free night.

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