Flashback to the Camino: The Witch Forest and French Boy & Girl


June 29, 2017

I set out from Roncesvalles on my own after a nice breakfast in the same place I had dinner.  I make sure I’ve used the restroom — I always do! — and I look for which way to start.  I spot a post with the famous yellow arrow and others hiking up ahead, and I resume the walk.

Some ways into the walk I enter a forest.  It’s dark and enchanting, and I’m pleasantly surprised to discover that it is indeed a witches’ forest.  “Brujeria” (Witchcraft) says a large maroon sign just before the edge of the woods. “Bosque de Sorginaritzaga.”  I learn that some of the most well-known witches covens were held in the 16th century here, and that, unfortunately, 9 of these women were put to death.

Soon I enter a town and I ponder whether to grab a bite.   There are more towns around the route today, now that we are out of the mountains, and every stop I make, I ponder where the next stop will be and whether I should stop for a bathroom break and a quick snack.  At one point I see many stopping at a slightly off the road cafe ahead, and I decide to stop, too.  I make sure to fill up on water, and I order my first tortilla espanola — a staple along the Camino and also quickly on of my favorites — consisting in a quiche-like egg and potato combo.  Unfortunately, it begins to rain a bit, and I must pull out my poncho and throw it over my head and backpack before I head out.  I’m never able to successfully attach the poncho on my own.  Thankfully — miraculously — someone is always there to help me when I need this.

The day is long, and I finally arrive in Zubiri.  It’s a small town, and I see a couple of albergues (hostels) just as I cross over the bridge.  I’m tired and ready to rest, so I oblige the woman sitting outside the door who welcomes me over.  There are only a few rooms, and the one she leads me to has a set of bunk beds set against each side of the room.  I take of my shoes and bag and gather my things for a long anticipated shower.  When I emerge refreshed and return to my room, I discover others have joined me in the albergue.  At first I think they are all French, but I learn that only 2 are actually French — a young woman and young gentleman — and the other two young women are French Canadians.  The three women go out to eat, but I prefer to sit and rest.  This was their first day of walking (to my second), andI lack the energy they have!  This means I am left with the French gentleman, and I quickly discover that he knows even less English than I know French!  We have a 15-minute conversation completely though google translate.  And it is exhausting, but we are both delighted.

Sometime later I decide to go out for a drink with the French woman, and I find that she speaks quite a bit of English and has a lot to say!  We swap opinions and talk for perhaps an hour or more before it’s time to head to turn in for the night.  It’s important to always get an early start in the morning!

Much love and many blessings. ❤

Enjoyed this?

Check out the whole journey in video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIPG4YhRf_rk5-59R3jT2yQ

or the whole journey in pictures on Instagram:



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