What to expect our first night in Roncevalles – OMW it is the shower part that worries me the most……

Home / Roncesvalles To Santiago / What to expect our first night in Roncevalles – OMW it is the shower part that worries me the most……

For many, the Monastery at Roncesvalles is the Pilgrims first introduction to albergue living. (I will use this word a lot in my blog as well as Refugio – this is a dormitory with 50 and more bunk beds stacked very closely together – OMW can you imagine all the snoring, farting, burping at night)

The main accommodation at Roncesvalles is a large converted barn which contains around 150 bunk beds, all in VERY close proximity to each other. Enquiries as to where the Ladies Dormitory is situated will bring forth gales of laughter. Virtually all albergue accommodation is unisex with the exception of a couple of albergues run by Nuns along the Way. First come, first served!!

The showers and toilets are in the basement and can get very busy when everyone is checking in. Experienced Pilgrims grab a bunk, dump the pack, undress as fast as possible and are standing in the shower queue in 30 seconds flat.  (YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!)Those who wish to hang around chatting about the wonderful scenery they passed today, will be rewarded with a cold shower.  (I cannot do cold water and I cannot do standing in a queue for a shower NAKED as there is nowhere (apparently) to put clothing etc. – bwahahaha)

Food in Roncesvalles comes from the two restaurants / bars where you need to book a seat for dinner. No booking = no dinner!! If, when you arrive at Roncesvalles the Pilgrim Office is closed for siesta, (Geeeez the whole of the northern part of Spain still siesta’s in the afternoon – crycky moses) drop your pack in the line of packs outside the office, and wander off and book yourself in for dinner, whilst having a cold beer and congratulating yourself on surviving your first day. The Pilgrim office is where you get your Pilgrim Passport stamped, or if you are starting from Roncesvalles, they will issue you with your new Pilgrim Passport. It is a bit of a long winded procedure and the queues seem to be very slow moving at times, but eventually you will get your stamp and a ticket for a bed in the dormitory. (Thank goodness we have our pilgrim passports we managed to get these from the Confraternity of St James South Africa) As soon as you have the bed ticket, hot foot it down to the barn, grab a bunk and get in the shower queue. (OMW)

They have internet connected PC’s in the basement so you can tell your loved ones that you survived Day 1. They also usually have a large pile of surplus kit carried by new Pilgrims who ignored the advice offered about only carrying 10kgs on your back. 28Kms of excess weight on your back causes you to re-examine every piece of kit you are carrying. Some will wait until Pamplona before posting home the unwanted weight, but most dump it at Roncesvalles “for those in need” Conscience solved, they can go off and have a beer feeling much happier!!! (oh boy – I am packing light light light – no more than 10kg’s – people who have walked the Camino say if there is one thing they would change doing it again is packing lighter so I am not going to make this mistake – moto is minimilistic – is there even such a word)

There are no shops or pharmacy at Roncesvalles and the next stop is a place called Zubiri which is also an ideal antidote for those with a passion for anything to do with shopping..

A Pilgrim will spend some time waiting in queues for albergues to open in the afternoons, and the standard way to stake your place is to place your pack in the queue and then wander off to grab a bite to eat or drink. Make sure you do not leave your passports, money or cameras in your pack. The Spanish assume that all Pilgrims are poor and your pack will come to no harm. (Bwahahaha – I am “poor’ because of this trip but “rich” in excitement and “daunted” by the shower arrangements)

The Golden Rule on the Camino is to eat. drink and sleep wherever you have the opportunity. If you are hungry or thirsty and you see a bar open, stop and consume. (OK – I like this advice)  Ignore those who tell you that there is a fantastic bar just over the hill. The owner might have died since the guide book was written or taken the day off. If you are getting tired and see an albergue with an empty bed, grab it. The next albergue might be full when you have walked the 5kms to find it, and you either have to walk another hour or so in either direction to try and find an empty bed. (Oh my word what are we in for……………)!!!

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Showing 12 comments
  • kimsj24

    I am giggling about the showers…and thinking of a certain drummie friend i know who would cancel her trip just because of the showers! Keep writing mich- its excellent, and you haven’t even started!!!

    • sparkalot

      I see one pic did not upload so just updated – I will keep the posts coming as often as I can on the walk! Love the fact that so many people are enjoying reading them.

  • Vanita

    It is going to be a wonderful experience…..enjoy every moment….what awesome tales you will have to pass on to others….all the best to both you & Shereez!

    • sparkalot

      Thanks Vanita and happy to see you are following us – hopefully you will join us on our return at MOFAM for all the “stories”

  • Katherine le Roux

    Sounds absolutely amazing despite all the challenges!
    Thoroughly enjoying the reading material – please keep it up! Enjoy!!

    • sparkalot

      Hi Katherine – the girls are delighted to know you are reading my blog – they are hooked too (how sweet)!! They will be with Phil while I am away and they are hoping they will get some time with you and Raphie. I will have access to FB so looking forward to seeing some pics of the BIG DAY – wishing you all the best and all the happiness and most importantly unconditional love for the rest of your life!

  • Rob Nell

    A COLD shower??????? No way! I don’t even do that here in Durbs! Hehe, Sparks, I can’t wait to hear how day 1 went! Tick! Tock!

    • sparkalot

      The tick tock is getting louder in my head – eish!!

  • Rob Nell

    Farting, burping and snoring……………..ROTFLMAO! At least u got ure sense of humor with you!

    • sparkalot

      I will more than likely loose my sense of humor on the first night – lets hope I don’t throw my rucksack at someone (bwahaha)

  • Warren Rothstein

    Showers sound like a whole (excuse the phun) lotta fun
    Nice to see you’re taking it all in Micks. Keep up the spirit……travel safe

    • sparkalot

      Hi Warren – Day 4 done and dusted and taking strain but on I will walk! The way I feel right now I don´t care who is in or not in the shower – this walk has consumed me in so many tiring ways that I can´t think or be bothered. :0)

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