September 15, 2002

9/15/02 Pamplona

17 km

Slept better last night, but I have to remember to use my ear plugs tonight. Just before bed, we were in a lively conversation with an older French couple who spoke no English or Spanish. We were having so much fun, we didn't realise how loud we were until Santiago, the hospitalero (and mayor of the town) came in and scolded us like children. That was bad enough but the French woman couldn't stop laughing, and that kept the rest of us giggling too.

We were all out of the refugio by 7:30am and stopped by the local bar for a quick cup of café con leche. Already it was warmer than our other day's starts.

Most of the walk in the morning went through farm fields with many horses. We generally followed the river downstream, with a lot of the path exposed to the sun. My poor shoulders are getting roasted because I'm walking in a sleeveless shirt.

Near Arre, we crossed over the River Ulzama on a Roman bridge that directly connects to the Monastery of Trinidad de Arre. We tried to find something to eat in Villava but nothing was open because it was Sunday.

Stone cross

Burlada is a suburb of Pamplona, and a few sweet pastery shops were open for the Sunday crowd. Angela and I stopped for a bit of bread and pineapple juice. We had a good talk about our families.

We crossed over into Pamplona proper when we walked over the 14th century Magdalena bridge that had a stone cross given by the city of Santiago de Compostela. Crossed paths with Josué for a bit, but he was moving on past Pamplona because he didn't really care for the big cities.

14th century Magdalena Bridge

Angela and I got one of the last beds at the refugio. After a quick shower, we headed out for a much needed late lunch. I was happy to see albondegas (meatballs) on the menu while Angela kept with her paella. Not only were we stuffed, but after sitting for so long eating dinner, we had to hobble down the stairs to the street.

Streets of Pamplona

I took a walk to the cathedral but it was all closed up. It took awhile, but I finally found the Hemingway statue near the Plaza de Toro, which was the size of a professional football stadium where the bullfights occur. Hemingway wrote about the feast of San Firmin, July 7th, and the running of the bulls which is how most Americans know about Pamplona.

Tonight I sat outside the refugio, and talked with Victoria from Italy. The miracle was that for two years, she couldn't walk depending on a wheelchair. And now, here she was walking the Camino. She was an artistic candlemaker but is looking for inspiration to change. Her English was very good, in part because of solid week of instruction by her 22-year old son who is studying Engineering Mathematics.

As evening set, Angela and I joined her for dinner. Such a wonderful woman. For some reason, this off-the-main drag restaurant was a favorite of our fellow pilgrims. Mark is taking tomorrow off so I won't see him for a while, if again. I wished him well and success with his Camino. After dinner, we were joined for a little walk by Carlos, a Spanish pilgrim.

Well, lights out at 10:30pm, so I need to finish up. Onward tomorrow.