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Live from Mazarife


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Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Thought I would share this email from a friend who is walking the frances.

Hi there Sil,
Good to hear from you. I´m in Mazarife right now.
So far I´ve been fortunate enough to stay at all the ´spiritual´ albergues you recommended am really grateful that you shared these with me. Some a person may hear about along the way from other travellers, sometimes the guide books give an impression which resonates but your recommnendations & framing of the experience that these albergues offer in the context of the Camino experience has been so valuable, so thank you.
Unfortunately Í didn´t stay overnight at Eunate, I arrive there just as siesta had started, wasn´t sure of the food situation & being earlyish in my Camino I was thinking a little further ahead & how I´d ábsorb´ the distance in my time I had available. Pity, I met some folks down the line who stayed there that same night & had a really great experience, the hospitalero´s rendition of Ave Maria in the church having made a visible impression on them. Nevertheless, the others on your list so far have all been great, some more so than others, Granon, Tosantos & San Bol in particular. Numbers were small, keeping the experience intimate & facilitating some sort of real exchange between the peregrinos present & the hospitaleros who are so vital in cultivating the atmosphere.So far, these places have been key in delivering the ´Camino´experience that appealed to me & look for daily & ultimately vital, in my opinion, in keeping a certain spirit alive with the apparent onslaught of commerce from the Camino´s rising popularity. Together with the small unplanned, somewhat serendipitous experiences that happen along the way, start culminating in a special kind of experience.
But, the crowds can make things less pleasant at times. There was no place to sleep in Roncesvalles the first night, not ideal at 9pm at night (the bus from Pamplona only arrives at about 8pm).So, myself & another 4 people together with another group ahead of us walked to Burguette 3km away in rain that was bucketing down. The Albergue & hotel there were also full but luckily we found a casa rural by some stroke of luck down a back street which the owner opened up specially for us. That night turned out to be pretty cool for a first night on the Camino, 5 strangers thrown together by circumstances, sharing the measly food we had between us (chorizo, nuts & seeds, an apple & a Kit Kat) & struggling to converse but managing to share more than just food in the end. Along the way however, the crowds have put pressure on accommodation, I´ve seen people arrive late (say 4pm onwards depending on the place) & not be able to find a single bed anywhere & have to either walk on on consider a taxi or other means. People have also been getting up at crazy hours to get on the road to their destination before everyone else, sometimes folks are marching along at a real pace. I guess on one hand there´s a responsibility to yourself to remain more vigilant & not get drawn into the madness around you but practical considerations can´t be ignored. Sometimes you can manage the situation from a personal point of view, being mindful, but its testing at times when folks get up at 5am. I think a lot of people have been caught off guard, expecting less crowd pressure & reluctantly having to deal with the situation.Some albergues also do small things like insists on nobody getting up before a certain time. I met some Swedes in Bilbao who cut short their Camino because of the situation. Having done it some years before, the current situation wasn´t for them. Their faces said it all really as they tried to persuade me to consider the Camino Norte.
Weatherwise, it´s been pretty wet. Lots of rain & mud but enough fair weather to keep things sane. A few days sunshine has also kept insanity at bay. I bought a poncho like yours in Pamplona, the real deal, so I haven´t minded the rain too much. Sometimes the rain has actually been quite pleasant, you seem to walk ´alone´ more, it keeps things quieter, you´re less likely to be subjected to other peoples banter which has been a welcome respite at times.
I´m really appreciating the experience so far, despite the less ideal things along the way I´ve met some great people, had some cool little experiences which I reminisce obout already. I´ll leave further comment until a later email.
Tomorrow´s a longish day with a an even longer one the day after, I´ve decided to condense two of the days in my itinerary until Manjarin where I hope to stay too. I´m hoping this together with the ´double day´I did a few days ago will afford me the opportunity to walk on to Finisterre if I still want to. Right now, I´m keen to.
Hope all´s well your side Sil. Thanks again for all your adice, especially those albergues - my experience would likely have been much less fulfilling so far.
Fond regards,
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