We had been walking in the forest for the last several hours. Every step was agonizing. Our feet hurt, especially our ankles. I left Marilyn at a rest area along the highway and started walking to Roncesvalles. After a hundred yards I turned around. I decided that I had had enough of walking on uneven, rocky surfaces. I went back to the highway where Marilyn was resting. I told her that I was going to walk along the side of the road into Roncesvalles rather than take the 1.6-kilometer trail through the forest.
I did not know it was going to be 2.5 kilometers uphill and another two kilometers downhill before I walked into Roncesvalles. I stopped at the first bar/café and asked if they could call a taxi. I explained my dilemma. They called and told me it would be an hour and it would cost 25 euros for the taxi to drive 4.5 kilometers out of town to get my wife. The owner of the bar/café took pity on me. She volunteered one of her staff to drive me to get Marilyn.
We’re both in Roncesvalles and my next task is to find our backpacks. I had them transported from St. Jean. I checked at the hotel I had addressed them to – not there. In fact, they weren’t at any hotel/lodging in Roncesvalles. The Roncesvalles Monastery had been turned into a 425-bed albergue. One of the helpers told me that for a 40 euro donation, he would drive me to St. Jean and see if we could figure out what happened to our backpacks.
I had no choice. It was nearing 8 pm at this time. I had to find a place for Marilyn to stay before going to St. Jean. The last room (private room with private bath – Marilyn’s requirement to walk the Camino) was given to us.
We arrived in St. Jean, parked the car and walked to my former hotel. Usually, the front door was kept locked. We knocked and knocked with no answer. I tried to door-knob. It opened. Our backpacks were right where we had left them that morning – over 15 hours ago. We grabbed the backpacks and the owner/manager returned as we were leaving. The driver and the manager discussed the backpacks in Spanish. I still do not know why the backpacks were not transported to Roncesvalles.
We returned to Roncesvalles. I took the backpacks to our room. Marilyn was asleep. I went downstairs to get something to eat before the kitchen closed at ten pm. I arrived five minutes before closing. I had a wonderful meal with a nice bottle of wine and retired for the evening. We had started at 5:30 am and it was now nearing 11:30 pm as I was setting the alarm for the next day.