Time walked – 4 hours, including sight-seeing
Total distance walked for the day – 7.4 miles (59.7 miles total)
Weather – Cool morning in the low 50’s, turning warmer in the afternoon, 76 degrees F, with sun.
Terrain – city sidewalks and pavement
Someone’s alarm went off during the 5 a.m. hour at the Albergue Jesús y María. I heard it but was able to keep sleeping. At 6:00 a.m., I was wide awake, having had the first full night of sleep since arriving in Europe. Ray was still sleeping, but his sleep wouldn’t last long since most people were getting ready for their trek, creating quite a bit of noise. Unlike our other accommodations, there was no privacy at this one. Although I was uncomfortable because of my acrophobia and with the shared bathroom, I couldn’t be upset after having slept so well. The guy on the bottom bunk next to me had gone to bed talking and woke up talking. Ray took his belongings to the nearby common area to organize because the constant chatter was bothering him. I packed up my things, but took me longer than normal with the distraction. Once again, Ray and I were one of the last to leave the albergue.
Still in disbelief that we’ve walked to Pamplona, we wanted to make the most of our time here. I had planned this day to be a partial work day so that we could do some sight-seeing. Ray wanted to see the Monumento al Encierro, a life size depiction of the running of the bulls, which happened to be near the Plaza de Toros Stadium. I thought we should see the Pamplona Cathedral since I had read about it, and it was nearby. First, however, we wanted to find coffee. While we’ve been spoiled with great coffee in Boquete, the coffee we’re drinking on this journey has been fantastic.
Next to the monument was a nice looking café with seating outside as well as inside. There were a few men sitting outside, but we had our coats on an opted to sit inside. Ray chose the table with a spot for me in the sun streaming through the front window. We ordered café con leche for each of us and split a sweet roll and a potato, cheese and egg dish. Ray checked his emails while I caught up on my posts. Similar to Panamá, people don’t seem to be in a rush like in the United States. Ray commented that he could see himself liking Pamplona enough to live there. We were enjoying experiencing the calmness when we realized it was 11:30 a.m. Time to get moving.
The Plaza de Toros Stadium was across the street, from the café. I opened a map on my phone, and we headed toward the gothic Pamplona Cathedral. We found out that they had a mass for the peregrinos at 9:00 a.m., and entrance before 10:00 a.m. was free. I was sorry that I did not know about the mass because I would have liked to have been there. We walked around the outside but wanted to move on through the city. I saw signs referring to this part of the city as Casco Viejo, or Old Town. I saw several people taking pictures of an interesting looking building that I later discovered to be City Hall, so I took one as well.
While we were happy to be in Pamplona, Spain, it seemed different being there on our Camino as pilgrams as opposed to tourists. We were both ready to get to our hotel and get our work done and get out of the city and back to the countryside.
Thankfully, the Camino was well marked through Pamplona. I had been concerned that we would have to search for the markers, but in the old town they were large and mounted on the sides of buildings high enough to be above the business signage. As we got into the modern part of Pamplona, the sidewalks were marked with metal medallions bearing a shell design. Ocassionally there were metal street-type signs making street crossings clear.
The weather is perfect for spring flowers and I snapped a few pictures at a city park.
After leaving the park, we joined a fellow pilgram at an intersection waiting for the traffic light to change. Ray turned to the man and asked if his name was Shannon, and it was! Several weeks earlier in Boquete, Ray and I were walking home after a practice hike. As we approached a man, he turned and offered to let us pass him, telling us that he was practice hiking for the Camino de Santiago in May. He lives on his boat in Bocas del Toro, Panamá, and as luck would have it, we ended up in Pamplona at the same time. We chatted for awhile and then continued on to Cizur Menor to find a hotel. Shannon was planning to find an albergue there for the night.
As we got closer to Cizur Menor, I was hungry and needed to use the restroom. I was also waiting for 2:00 p.m. our time to text our oldest daughter at 7:00 a.m. her time. I was having a hard time finding a hotel in Cizur Menor and was hoping she could help. We crossed several busy streets and eventually reached Cizur Menor, but didn’t readily find a place to eat. There was an albergue, however, so we stopped to see if I could use the baño. Maribel, the proprietor, was adorable and happy to help. She pointed me to the restroom and I saw a free wifi sign on the way. Before returning outside, I connected to the wifi and called Melissa, who got us a hotel reservation just a 40 minute walk. Ray had a great time talking with Maribel and even greeted Shannon when he arrived before I finished. We thanked Maribel, mounted our backpacks, and kept walking.
Our phone map is a big help if we leave the Camino. When we approached the hotel counter to check in, I saw Ray getting our Pilgram’s Passports, or Credentials out of his pocket to get stamped. I started to protest since this wasn’t an accommodation on the Camino route, but the clerk was already preparing the stamp. I was glad that we weren’t the only pilgrams to leave the route and stay in this hotel, but it also felt strange. This was my idea, and I knew we would have to work along the way, but I didn’t like the feeling of not being a “true” pilgram. On top of that, Melissa had booked us with her member number so we got upgraded to a junior suite. Well, I wasn’t going to turn that down. The desk clerk handed us our key and directed us to the elevator. Our room was on the third floor. Ray and I looked at each other, and without a word, both turned toward the stairs.
Even though we were now in a hotel, the first priority was to prepare for the next day. The bathroom was enormous with a bathtub/sower combo and a stand alone shower. Ray took the first shower while I unpacked and piled our laundry. Then I took a 20 minute shower, but it felt like an hour. The shower alone was going to be something for me to look forward to on our weekly work breaks. Ray washed the clothes in the bathtub and strung two clotheslines across the bedroom. I am so sorry that I didn’t get a picture for our Camino friends because it was quite a sight. At two of the albergues, Ray has strung a clothesline around the bunk. I’ve hung our towels on either side near my head to create a small amount of privacy while I work on posting. At Hostel Suseia, Valerie was so impressed that she took a picture. One more thing that I love about my husband, he strings the best clothesline of anyone I know.
We worked and ate dinner in the hotel. Yesterday everyone had been talking about the rain in the forecast for the next few days and wondering if anyone had a good idea about changing the normal plan. Ray and I spent most of our dinner discussing what we would do in case of rain, making Plan A, B and C. After dinner we finished some more work and then crashed for a good night’s sleep.