So, here goes:

Bus to Pamplona then a bit of a wait to get second bus to Roncesvalles, town near the French border made famous for a battle in 778 (August 15th if you wanna get picky about it) in which the forces of Charlemagne were defeated and one Roland was killed – immortalized in the old french epic poem La Chanson de Roland – which I read in some class but made such a non-impression I don’t even remember which one it was for.

Once in Roncesvalles – first moment I’d had to sit and breathe for days i take stock of what I’ve forgotten:

  • Earplugs (essential for sleeping in dormitories in the (pilrimage inns – lots of snoring)
  • Insect repellent – not necessary yet – I will try to mooch off of kind strangers
  • A flashlight – for packing up stuff at 4:30 -5am when you start the day – I’ve been using my mobile light  – works ok
  • A roll of toilet paper – always useful – I’m stealing from the bathrooms as I go along.
  • Clothespins – i bought a few later but don’t know if I’ll really need them – donated half the packet to the albergue today.

Here are the biggies

  • The debit card for my American bank account. This one is a mystery. I picked it up when I was packing. I remember it distinctly. But it is nowhere in my bag. I even went back quickly to my room and checked, and it’s been sucked into the oblivion that is the Casa Rosa. Not critical, I have money in my Spanish account, but annoying, cuz one of my students hasn’t pain me yet, and I’m getting nervous. Grrrrrr…
  • I FORGOT THE CABLE FOR MY CAMERA!!!!!!!! I CAN´T UPLOAD ANY PHOTOS UNTIL I´M DONE!!!!! Can you believe that? This bites my ASS!!ARRRGH!! So much for an interesting blog experience. I don’t know how much a cable would cost but I’m already shelling out way more money than I intended. Boo. Any images I use will be ripped off the internet.

 

So, already unnerved to find I can still be a total space cadet, I managed to miss the guided tour of Roncesvalles while sitting 10 feet away from the office where it starts. I realized about 5 minutes too late, and that was it. I tried to tell myself it was better that way –I’d saved 3 euros.

 

So for a town this mythically famous, I was shocked at how tiny it is – there must be only 20 people living there! Hundreds of pilgims, but no real inhabitants. A couple restaurants, and not even a store to buy food (a nice way to force pilgrims to buy overpriced fixed-price menus, as I have discovered – price gouging at its best).

 

So with not much to do – I did what everyone else did – I went to mass. In the Colegiata de Santa Maria. Why not right? Couldn’t understand too well – echoes are hard to understand in a second language. And I kept feeling awkward with all the standing sitting, crossing oneself, everyone knowing the words but me, shaking hands with the folks next to you. I kept thinking “They must know! I’m an imposter!!!” Oh well. At the end we all got a pilgrim’s blessing – even us heretical types, which I thought was nice. Found this photo online – apt, as it was quite foggy the morning I left. Here’s an interior:

 

Not much else. I ate a sandwich, I slept, I got up at 6 the next day.

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