April 18, 2016 Monday
14.8 miles Started at 7:30 a.m. Arrived at 4:00 p.m. I walked the length of this cute little town and back and found accommodations at 5:00 p.m.
I walked walked out of the albergue while C from Ireland and K from Chicago were outside smoking.I turned left,wanting to take a picture of that side of the Cathedral before I left. C and K said, “Geri, you are going the wrong way. Follow the shells on the street.” It was too complicated to tell them “I knew that, I was just going to look at the church.” It was easier to just turn around and walk the opposite way. Remember the scene in the movie?
It was early and there were very few pilgrims around. A couple lady pilgrims from Italy looked lost and I showed them where the shells in the street were.
Pamplona is a beautiful university city. No wonder so many decided to take a day to explore it. As I walked two pilgrims passed me, in their 60’s holding hands. My heart leaped with joy for them – making a good decision long ago . . . They were being rewarded with that decision with sweet companionship. (They didn’t look like newly weds.)
Walking out of Pamplona, again in the morning sunlight is astonishing, There are spring flowers all over the walk ways and in the parks. I walk thru the University area with students rushing to class, then the city is behind me and I am surrounded with the vibrant yellow of the canola fields. I go thru suburbs and little villages and I am in canola fields again, looking back at Pamplona. The views re astonishing and the weather is perfect. About 9:30 pilgrim catches up with me while I am taking a photo and when I tell her to go by, she says no, this is my normal pace. Once again, I am given the gift of a slow walker. We walk together and talk and visit most of the day. She is M from Australia. She is taking 7 weeks to do the Camino. We know we have to start climbing soon to Alto Perdon (about 900 ft over 7 miles) where the wind turbines and the wrought iron sculpture of pilgrims are but we continue talking, sharing stores of our Camino, our lives, our training. She is a delightful person, just so happy to be here, not wanting to be in a hurry, not intimidated by others who pass her by. Her pace actually a little slower than mine – maybe. She has a most interesting backpack – it looks like a life raft, distributing weight over her chest and back. She wears a long skirt over compression tights. She is too modest to wear tights without the skirt. She is very happy in her own skin.
We stop for a snack (tortilla de patata) at the little village of Zariquiegui. We are sitting outside in the sun. I get my IPad out, and using the cafe’s WIFI I start making reservations in Puente La Reina. J from Kent catches up ad joins us at our table. He encourages me NOT to make a reservation, but to trust. The insecurity I felt when I arrived at Zubiri is too recent – but I decide to go along with the Camino attitude and “trust.” I close my IPad and put it back in my backpack
Up on Alto Perdon, the views are astonishing.
We begin our decent. The trail looks just like the backcountry in San Diego county.
We continue walking through beautify farm land. M leaves me at Muzurzabal – her destination for the day- and I continue on for the last 2 1/2 by myself. An lung American couple from Georgia catch up with me and we walk together as we enter Puente La Reina. They are very fast when we go uphill- they lose me. When we decend, I pass them. They are afraid of hurting their knees. We leave each other at the entrance of the town. I am going to “trust” and find an albergue. I walk the entire length of the town -no room at the inn. I am walking to the other end of the town with a flyer handed to me at Alto Perdon, I cross the famous bridge and head up the hill to The albergue and I decide I don’t want to walk up another steep hill. I turn around.
Some pilgrims on the bridge tell me about Padres Reparadores, and albergue run by a seminary. I walk back through town. Tired feet getting more tired as I walk over cobblestones. I walk in a church, wondering if this is the albergue attached to the seminary. It isn’t but a Spanish pilgrim tells me where he is staying. He doesn’t speak English very well,so I am given instructions in Spanish and hope for the best. I find it, Amalur and they have a bed.It is a bar with rooms above. Someone grabs me from behind – it is J from Kent. He is happy I trusted and found a room. His first 3 attempts found the albergues full and he was worried for me.
I am tired and cold.It is 5:00 by now. I am too tired to do my laundry. I climb into my sleeping bag (which I can always count on to keep me warm) and sleep for an hour. There are 6 bunks (12 beds) and only 4 of us. I get up and try to post a blog, But I am freezing – it is like camping. No one closes the doors. Everyone else is warm. I meet the Spanish man who directed me here in the common area. He is a pilot. He does the Camino every year – in sections – every year on his vacation – one week at a time. He goes slowly – wanting to take it all in, taking all the optional side trips. My other bunk mates is a Danish couple – they speak very good English and are happy and having fun. They only want to do about 6 miles a day. They are retired, not in a hurry and the gentleman is concerned for his heart.
The Danish couple see me shivering and ask what I have eaten today – actually noting but the tortilla de patata at 11 am. J orders me downstairs to eat. I go down and eat at the bar, by myself. I order a veggie burger and fall asleep waiting for it to come. It is not like our veggie burgers – it is chopped vegetables held together with eggs and a batter. It is delicious, but what wouldn’t be?I am still so tired,I collapse in my bed in my clothes.
Climbing Alto del Perdon and looking back