8 April 2015 – Day 1 of the Camino – Let the adventure begin!!!

How do I start this one off – those on Facebook already know of my frustration of this day – I will try and blog it with as much emotion as I had on the day.  So I am warning you now – if you are sensitive to bad language – stop reading this portion of the blog now.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

We woke up this day with a lot of Enthusiasm – our Camino is finally starting, we are excited but slightly nervous as we know it is going to be a tough day.  We hope that the snow stories are false and if not hey … we can do this.

Just to put that part into perspective – so we are at the Pilgrims office – they tell us that there is about 2km of Snow just outside of Roncevallez, but we can walk on the side of the snow but they do recommend that we take the road to Roncevallez.

We have never been around snow so we are pretty keen to check this out.

So the plan is to get to Roncevallez in about 4 hours (it is 28km from the start) then after lunch – head on straight to Pamplona

The start of the Camino showing us the way:


This is – oh, about 500m from the hotel, the hill hit is hard, it was expected but well, didn’t expect it this soon.


The hill is tough, we get to ride now and then – and I can still smile while the others come up the hill.


The hill just keeps on going – and doesn’t look like it is going to stop any time soon – this is the Pyrenees after all.


I just stopped to take a pic of this view – not because I am tired – the view is what is breath taking – not the hill that just bloody won’t stop or give us an inch to recover.



Oh look we are still going up – keep having to remind me that this is the Pyrenees!!!


The realization is setting in … that 4 hour mark to get to Roncevallez is looking unattainable at the moment.


Another view shot – and try catch my lungs as they try and leave my body – but wow … the views are really looking awesome.


Man alive – we might feel like death – but at least these views just keep getting better – The smiles are still there at least!!



We have arrived at Orrison!!!! This is 8 km from the start – and it only took us about 4 hours to get here … wait? aren’t we supposed to be in Roncevallez by now as per the plan? So we still have 20km to go?? WTF????


And the views are still pretty damn good though


Time for some soup at Orrison and another chance to show people we are still having a blast with a selfie shot!!


Orrison – some pilgrims keep going – the clever ones stay the night here


Show us the way!!!


Selfie time, we need to get a pic with the snow at the top there


Whoop Whoop – some snow!! So glad we got to see the snow – was really worried that there wouldn’t be any by the time we got here.


This is so freaking awesome!!!!


This has got to be my best pic yet – HUGE hill coming up and some more fluffy white snow ahead – so we decided to have a snack break.


Seriously hoping that is the top there …


Ok, more snow than I thought – but not too bad … at least that should be the top …


Was hoping that was the top … but let’s get another selfie shot with a view …


WTF? Ok, so we have to cycle through that … I am sure we can do that … and if you think that is dry ground on the side – it isn’t – it is mud and a fence so we have to walk through the fluffy stuff – this is the start of the end


Sense of humor leaving at a fast rate – don’t care too much for this stuff anymore …


As we got through that white shit (yes, white shit, it is not fluffy) we managed to walk about 100 meters to be greeted by some more fucking white shit … We have to go through the middle of those trees … cause that is where the fucking Camino shells are  telling us to go!!


At this point the sense of humor and love for this snow has completely vanished – to the point of where no more photo’s were taken, you take photo’s of things you love – I have come to the point to say that I fucking hate snow – people who thing hell is all fire and brimstone have it totally wrong!! Hell is you being dumped in a pile of white not fucking fluffy snow and you have to try and get out of it.

I never want to see this shit again – if you dare offer me a snow cone, I am going to punch you in the face followed by a swift kick in the nuts.  I want nothing to do with snow.

We got to a point on this route where there was this little hut – we had to decide on sleeping there or moving on.  There were three other pilgrims who had passed us by now and they moved on.

There was no wood to start a fire in this hut – and Roncevallez was about 6km away and it was 18:30.  This is 6 and a half hours after leaving Orrison – what the fuck happened to our 4 hour trip???

As luck would have it, the way to go was covered in Snow (Surprise fucking surprise) not only was the road covered in snow, it was so high, we couldn’t see the other side of the road.

We had to move around the side – the wan down the snow bank looked easy enough and there was a patch of dry ground that we can walk across once we got down.

Well that fucking dry patch of ground was covered in thistle thorns … so we have snow as far as the eye can see and thorns to kiss us along the way

But we got down but we could see road above so it can’t be too long – fucking famous last words

This trek (from the start of the snow) till the end of it was about 8km long – someone should buy the guy at the pilgrims office a measuring tape for Christmas.

The last picture of snow as we can now see Roncevallez in the distance … We had to come over that …


Don’t fool yourself – that tar road doesn’t go up in line with the snow … that section of road is fairly flat.

So we saw Roncevallez in the distance at the bottom – I was still too pissed to take photo’s – I was no longer in love with snow.  The trip down by the way had some more snow – but this time there was more mud than snow and the going down was slow as we were slipping all over the place.

We didn’t manage to beat the sun to the hostel – we were running around in the dark – thankfully we could see lights through the trees.

We eventually got to Roncevallez at 21:30 – Pamplona was going to have to wait. 13 hours to do 28km

We were lucky to get there when we did as the hostel closes it’s doors at 10:00 and there is no way of getting in.  But the volunteers there were great – gave us coffee and a muffin and got us a bed pronto – they only had 30 minutes to get us settled.

My brother John was a machine – I have no idea where he got his energy from.  Every snow section – every hill – he managed to get ahead of us – and then he would run back and grab our dad’s bike and take it to where his was – if I wasn’t there by the time he did that – he was making his way back to help me with my bike.

I am very impressed with his fitness level – he is doing something right – he told me that he was broken and he was scared of getting stuck in the mountain – but I tell you what, the guy never showed it.

If he was tired, he didn’t look it, he just kept going and going – he was like a the friggen energizer bunny – and to be honest, the energizer bunnies batter would run out and John will still be going, he would keep going and buy the energizer bunny some more batteries to keep up with him.

The man was a machine this day – well done boet!

The blog will have to stop here for tonight as I need to get some sleep – hopefully I will be able to catch up to the days with the blogging – hopefully we reach our destination early tomorrow and I have some more time.

If I offended you with the language – you are as dumb as I am – I warned you not to read further as the guy at the Pilgrim office warned us to maybe think of taking an alternate route.

This day was hell people – in ending – if anyone had to ask me for advice on doing the camino – walk the first day – send your bikes ahead to Pamplona and cycle from there.

Once I get more pics of the snow, I will upload it as an additional post – I think my dad and brother might have taken some more

Till tomorrow (hopefully)

Be safe!


2 thoughts on “8 April 2015 – Day 1 of the Camino – Let the adventure begin!!!

  1. Leon Serfontein says:

    Hi Ashley, Len, John and Sergio,

    After reading this, I am thinking of climbing back into my bed…. I’m so tired now !

    Well, you’ve made it so far !!! Take a good rest and remember of how privledged you are.
    I have seen some of “The machine” before.

    Kind regards to you all. Be safe !



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