If you ever decide to walk the Camino de Santiago, there are tons of books, blogs, articles and plenty of very knowledgeable people who can give you essential information. I read and learned a lot before starting the journey. However, during my research, I didn’t come across anyone who suggested taking a rest on Day 2.
J’Nell and I did just that, and it was an excellent decision.
After waking up quite drowsy in Roncesvalles after that crazy long hike over the Pyrenees, with weary bodies and minds, we walked 3.1 km down the road to Burguete and took off our backpacks for a respite from the Camino. There were three reasons for doing this.
First, we booked rooms in Pamplona and Logrono (later stops on the Camino) at great rates a few months ago estimating when we would be arriving in those towns on foot. In doing this, we thought we would be splitting up Day One (not going the whole way to Roncesvalles) by staying in the albergue (Pilgrim’s Hostel) in Orrison in the Pyrenees. Unfortunately they were all booked up, so we wound up being one day early.
J’Nell and I could have modified our hotel reservations in Pamplona and Logrono, but we both figured after such a long day hiking in the mountains (something we’re not used to), our bodies could use the rest. That turned out to be very true. What I didn’t count on, was my mind needed the extra time as well to process what had just happened the day before.
Then there was the 3rd, and biggest reason, for me. In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, my favorite book, the main character Jake and his buddy Bill go fishing in Burguete and stay at a quaint inn there. Hem did the same in real life, and the place where he lodged is still in operation and even has the same piano where the legendary author carved his signature back in 1923.
The Camino de Santiago goes right through Burguete, and I couldn’t pass up staying at the same place Hemingway did when he was writing my favorite novel.
Burguete is a tiny, old, picturesque town of whitewashed houses and red roofs and lots of shutters. Most of the place is built inches from the road that cuts through it, though there is a pleasant stream behind the main road, hiking paths, and park benches that J’Nell and I enjoyed while waiting to check into our room at Hostal Burguete.
A perfect spot to rest, and in the early morning and afternoon, it seemed we had the whole town to ourselves. We bought a bottle of local wine at the market (so delicious and inexpensive) and some snacks, and had a picnic by the stream. In The Sun Also Rises, Jake and Bill put their wine in the river to chill it while they fish, and J’Nell and I did the same.
We wrote in our journals, both of us trying to get some perspective on the previous day’s grueling yet amazing hike. We sipped the full bodied red wine, ate our snacks (olives, mixed nuts, and freshly picked blackberries) and the only sounds were birds, an occasional car, and the water flowing over the pebbly stream.
When I thought of doing the Camino de Santiago, such a moment is what I envisioned.
After checking in later in the day and taking a siesta, we went to what appeared to be the only bar open in town. There we drank a few beers before a wonderful dinner at Hostal Burguete. We heard one other older couple speaking English (they were from the UK), but otherwise it was all locals enjoying the evening in thier lovely town. The beers were cold and the mountains in the distance with the glow of the sunset on them were stunning.