The toilets, showers, washing machine and dryer, few internet terminals, and large table to eat or write at, are located underneath the great hall in the Roncesvalles albergue. I opened the door to the women's bathroom and found a cramped beehive of activity. Female pilgrims were washing their clothes in the sinks, another line of women were waiting for the showers (If I remember correctly there were four), and another line was waiting to use the toilets.
Once it was clear that the path was truly steadily descending I think I was hoping that the albergue in Roncesvalles would just sort of appear like turning a page in one of those great children's pop-up books. It wasn't that I was in such great pain, or that the day had been impossible, or that I ever thought of giving up. In fact, I wasn't even in a bad mood; it had just been enough.
It became clearer why there had been a panic to get out the door in the morning. Pilgrims were everywhere, which I had not exactly expected. I thought that there would certainly be some, but not the sheer number in view ahead of me and behind me.
Renate had made it clear that she was going to go at her own pace, which I respected and took as another wise tip for myself. We were all headed for the same goal anyway, the albergue at Roncevalles, 28 kilometers over the Pyrenees. Anna had said that she would have to see how the walk progressed for her. There was the possibility to stop overnight at an albergue 7 or 8 kilometers into the walk if one needed to. But it was early in the walk, the albergue would be at least an hour if not an hour and a half ahead of us.
I didn't really sleep during the night. The man who had been sleeping during the day came back at some point early in the night. Others could be heard walking down the hall to use the restrooms, I could see the bobbing of the flashlight through the crack of our door. I had already been downstairs to the restroom myself once during the night, goodness knows when. I heard the first bird announce the dawn, thinking at first it must have been a miss-chirp of sorts.