Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Peak Moments

Day 1-Roncesvalles to Zubiri
22.5km-7 1/2 hours
There are reports of 200-300 Pilgrims coming through St Jean and Roncesvalles over the past few days. There are so many Pilgrims on the Camino that beds fill up fast.
We got to Roncesvalles so late last night we had to stay in the overflow area. Six sets of bunks in container type trailers. The also had huge green tents for some folks. I am glad we got the bunkrooms.
It was a very rushed and unorganized night. As soon as we got a bed, we dropped our things and went to the Mass and the Pilgrim blessing. It was in a beautiful chapel that I believe is part of the ancient Monastery. Six priests officiated the Mass. They welcomed the Pilgrims and read the names of all the countries represented, it was an impressionable list. It brought tears to my eyes and I noticed that I wasn't the only one. Another emotional moment was at the end of the Mass when all Pilgrims were asked to come to the front of the chapel for the Pilgrim blessing. The priests prayed for us and wished us a wonderful and safe journey in many different languages.
We had a Pilgrim meal after Mass, then called it a night.
We were up this morning shortly after 6AM and walked in the dark by the light of the moon. It was cold enough to see your breath, but by the time the sun came up we saw many Pilgrims removing layers and we were in short sleeves and shorts long before noon.
Today's walk was mostly through green forest and mountainous terrain. A picture book scene around every corner.
For me, the highlight of the day was when we stopped for a drink of water at the top off a high mountain pass and looked back at the mountains and valleys we had crossed. The scene was majestic; dotted with herds of cattle, some close, some way off in the distance. But even better was that in the stillness was the distant symphony of cattle lowing and the many different tinkling sounds of cowbells combined with the gorgeous view. I was completely absorbed in the moment. No words are ever adequate to describe a peak moment, but this one was one that I won't soon forget.
I wish you peace, love, and laughter
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


  1. You made me feel a little of your peak moment with "in the stillness was the distant symphony of cattle lowing"...beautiful!

  2. Rita - I can picture this view you describe. You've had a wonderful start to your Pilgrimage. Keep it up!

  3. Oh Rita, I'm SO glad you are taking us along with you. I closed my eyes and visualized your experience at the chapel receiving your blessing.

    God be with you.

  4. Grammy,
    It sounds like an amazing time. We are all so proud of you. I'm sad I didn't get to see you before I left for school and before you left for your trip. I hope you have so much fun. I love you so much and can't wait to see you when your back home. We will have to plan a hike!


  5. Rita
    looking forward to reading your posts
    buen Camino

  6. Hi Rita

    what a wonderful start to your walk...
    You are going to have so many wonderful memories...

    Happy days