Day THREE - May 18th – 17.1 km with a climb of 650m (say 2,000 feet) and a descent into Roncesvalles of 500m (say 1,600 feet).
Day Breaks at Orisson
I cannot blame Heinrich for waking me around 5.45. I think I was awake anyway. I threw on a pair of jeans and a tee shirt and wandered down the road we had come up the previous day. Below me lay little pools of clouds like ponds between the hills.
I tried to help a young Korean who was travelling on a bike with tiny wheels – no bigger than 12 inches in diameter. He had developed a puncture within a hundred yards of Orisson. Feeling I was more of a hindrance than a help I abandoned him and went for breakfast which was served sharply at 7.00am. Some of my colleagues who shall remain nameless took a more relaxed attitude to breakfast and clearly when room service did not arrive at 7.20 came down to get breakfast all by themselves. By 7.25 the table was being cleared by a French man with a wild eye. Forgetting that the French actually do understand English – they merely pretend not to – my colleagues had some choice Dublin comments to make about breakfast, French cuisine, French culture, Nicholas Sarcozy and the quarrel over Irish Corporation tax.
Accordingly some felt they were persona not grata. This impression was reinforced by the refusal to hand over the sandwiches we had ordered the night before until all the other pilgrims had long left the hostel.
For some of us, arriving last had become a life style accessory and something to be proud of and nothing at all to be ashamed of…..