Having booked ahead at the Hosteria Zubiri, with it’s luke warm shower and uninviting breakfast (included in the price) we are greeted by rain early in the morning. Dee has a power of veto when it comes to rain and she uses it without hesitation. I am feeling guilty because it was my idea to do the Camino and I really wanted to walk the first week without a break. At least I wanted to be in Pamplona before we had a lay day. Pamplona is 20 km away.
All the other Pilgrims don their wet weather gear and are off on shanks pony. Dee and I wonder around town. Initially I thought there was a rail connection. Wrong. No buses on samedi either. The taxi will take an hour and, coming from Pamplona, we have to pay double. Standing forlornly on the road side in misting rain the irrepressible Dee sticks out a finger and our “saint” Aranta appears, screeching to a halt 20 m down the road. No, she is not going all the way but we are welcome to ride as far as she goes. She speaks no English yet happily sings a line from Elvis, a love song of course (because I love you too much baby). The kms speed by, these same kilometres that gave us such pain. The effortlessness of technology that we seem to take for granted. It took us 2 days to walk 50 km and 30 minutes to drive 20 km. Saint Aranta takes us all the way to La Plaza de Toro in the centre of Pamplona which is well out of her way. She bids us ‘bon voyage’ in Spanish. We don’t understand, yet by the end of our ride we know each other’s names and where we live. The Camino has a charitable and friendly heart.
It is minutes to the Information centre, maps and potential accommodation. We try 2 hotels,both “complete” before finding Hostal Bearan, the smiling Nacho and a simple but very comfortable room for 52 E. We find a lavanderia and they wash our clothes. We find a bar and Wifi (wireless) to post our blog, or at least some of it as my gas bagging has become quite extensive and we have approximately 650 images already. No, they will not be posted as the uploading is difficult and time consuming. I am considering setting up Facebook just to show some pics. Only the larger towns seem to have inet so we take it as it comes.
Staying in the old section of Pamplona, dating from the 13 th century and earlier in parts, is just a buzz. The cathedrals, parks and street scenes are intoxicating. The wine is cheap. Funny about that. An afternoon walk when all are taking siesta means we have the place in a relatively uncrowded way. By 7 pm the streets are filling with motion and noise. It beckons us to leave the room, join the party and let the heart of Pamplona embrace us.
At 3 am the street party continues to rage with animated conversations, smashed glass and trashed streets. We have dinner at a small local restaurant offering “el menu de peregrinos which cost 10 E each for three courses plus a bottle of ‘vino tinto’ (red). A cool evening outside as we make our way back through the crowds. I try to watch Sevilla play Sporting and after 50 minutes it is 3 all but I can’t keep my eyes open and succumb to sleep. Dee has been asleep since her head hit the pillow, hence the lack of response for the past 30 minutes. I thought she was ignoring me because I was watching football!!
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