27 August: Lourdes to Roncesvalles Spain

What a day. No sleep last night. Tossed and turned all night. Probably worried about my train connection after my Dutch fiasco. No worries though as I made it fine. Except for the weather. Believe it or not it is 8 C here in Roncesvalles, high winds and pouring rain. In fact it has been raining now for 4 days. And it is a hard rain, and wet and cold.

“Come to Spain” they said.

“You will love it” they said.

“ I came, I saw and I am drenched….” I said.

I feel like this guy.

Lourdes was very nice. Beautiful in fact. But they do have homeless there. But they are more refined I think. Take this guy. He was hanging outside the train station. He was listening to some tunes on his iPhone and doing yoga. He was prepping himself before heading out to rip people off. Oh well.

The trip down from Lourdes was uneventful. When the sun did shine the countryside was beautiful. Green and very lush. Small towns and villages were nestled among the rolling hills of the Pyrenees. A beautiful part of  France. But somewhat affluent. In other areas of France buildings and houses appear dirty, old and tired. But not here. Clean and refined with a Spanish influence. This is also Basque country. Fiercely independent. Freedom signs dot the landscape on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.

I arrived safely in Roncesvalles but very tired. I am sitting  in a cafe (bar) writing this. Spanish beer is very sweet. But good. I haven’t met a beer yet that wasn,t. And I need the carbs. That is my excuse anyway.

I bet you didn’t know that Roncesvalles has a storied past. When Charlemaigne came from Aachen Germany to kick moorish butt in Spain he promised the locals in Pamplona that he wouldn,t damage the ramparts. He lied. So the Spanish residents were angry and they attacked Charlamaigne,s rearguard when he was leaving Spain via the Ronceau pass. The locals attacked him at Roncesvalles. Charlies’s fav general, Roland, was killed and he is buried here. Check out the song of Roland. It is famous. Now all of this occurred in 778 ad. Interesting? You bet.

So I am here now with 280 other pilgrims. I am not sure I am going to like this. Too many people. And we all emit that green hueish aura that comes with being a pilgrim. Yes we stink. But when everyone stinks nobody stinks. Ah, the life of a pilgrim. Try it and come to Spain….I said.

Read ya tomorrow.

Shakeyjay is out.





2 thoughts on “27 August: Lourdes to Roncesvalles Spain”

  1. The history of that area is fantastic, as is every where you go in Europe. But being there surrounded by it all must be surreal. The weather doesn’t sound good, is the 1st stage you are going through the beginning of the Pyrenees leg?

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