Roncesvalles was small consisting of the old monastery converted into an albergue plus a restaurant and bar. If there was more to the village I never got to see it. I wandered over to the bar across the street for breakfast which turned out to be quite an ordeal. It was a small place with a crazy long line-up inside to get a meager breakfast of toast and coffee with milk.
The service was so slow and I wasn’t feeling well in there. The atmosphere was hot and stuffy from all of the body heat and the active kitchen. Twice, I had to leave my place in line to cool off outside because I felt faint.
Finally, I made it to the front of the line and got the last piece of toast – not a great breakfast, but at least it was something. I sat down outside at a patio table and visited with some people I had met at the albergue in St. Jean Pied de Port and then started on my way walking with Ted from Hawaii.
He walked with me for only part of the way and then turned around. He was meeting some friends in Roncesvalles who stayed at Orisson overnight, an albergue situated along the Napoleon route seven kilometres from St. Jean Pied de Port. It was nice to have the company for a while.
Now, I am in Viscarret staying at a beautiful little albergue situated on a farm. I have it all to myself actually. Viscarret is tiny and doesn’t seem to be a usual destination for pilgrims who follow the guidebook as it’s only 12 kilometres from Roncesvalles, but I just couldn’t go any further today after yesterday’s ordeal.
I had my pick of rooms and decided on one with two twin beds and French doors that open up onto a small balcony. After a refreshing, hot shower I did some laundry in the bathroom sink and now it’s hanging on the railing to dry.
Dinner will be ready soon and I am looking forward to another good night’s sleep, this time in a little room with a balcony overlooking the green rolling hills of the Spanish Basque country with the sound of cattle bells clanging in the distance.