… and mandolin, bed roll, tent, camp stove, library, and skateboard. Those are just some of the things hanging outside a huge and heavy backpack.
Reuben is a few months into an around-the-world adventure and has been hitchhiking in Europe from his home in the Netherlands. The musical instruments are meant to be his source of income. For some reason he thought that walking 20 or 25 km a day was a good idea before finding a boat to South America.
I first saw him in Roncesvalles where he tested the acoustics in a chapel.
I chatted briefly with him the next day as he was walking slowly due to a knee problem.
Today he passed me as I was making some minor adjustments to my 6.5 kg load. Soon after, I came upon him staring with dismay down a rocky and steep downhill section. I assessed the situation and brilliantly stated “You need some walking sticks. But you need hands (free) to use them.”
I held out one of my sticks and told him to give me whichever bag was lighter. He didn’t object too much, and said the mandolin bag was much heavier because of his books. I carried the didgeridoo, which wasn’t heavy, for an hour or so. I was feeling strong and decided it was novel to walk in Spain carrying an Aboriginal instrument for a strapping Dutch youth.
The cause of his knee problem was quite obvious to me, as were his probable reasons for carrying those important items, so I didn’t need to ask why. I eventually left him near a highway where he could decide to hitch hike. A few hours later, he shuffled into the albergue (hostel) in Pamplona, having walked the whole way. He was looking pretty rough.
Here’s my €8 accommodation at the Jesus and Maria albergue in Pamplona. I actually like it for its efficiency and anonymity.
Today was about 20 km from Zubiri to Pamplona.