Zubiri to Pamplona – 21 Kms, 30,452 steps
I was off with the sunrise this morning, prepared for a 50-50 chance of rain that never materialized, and looking forward to a relatively flat walk to Pamplona.
I had plenty of company at times but was all alone for long, pleasant stretches, too. I’m becoming less enamored of other pilgrims chatting away non-stop in my vicinity. It seems at odds with the natural beauty around us.
The sunrise over the mountains, with clouds, was beautiful. Unfortunately, my walk took me initially past a monstrous magnesium plant, with huge mounds of raw materials. I guess it’s a strategic product as there were a lot of signs ordering us to remain on the path at all times.
Naturally, just about everybody passes me, especially younger folks. So I was shocked this morning to pass a few others; kind of a rare moment. Later I was passed by a young lady with a backpack and a small dog. The dog, apparently, is also walking the Camino! I can’t imagine his step count.
My path today wound through a number of villages, mostly along narrow tracks on hillsides and in deep forests. One path followed along the Arga River for quite a while and I was serenaded by the nice sounds of the water rushing by. Judging by the washed-up debris, the river level gets really high when it floods.
The passion for Basque culture and separatism runs high here. The violence that marked it in the past is largely gone, but the independent streak is alive and well.
I encountered more Europeans and Australians today while walking. And more bicyclists, many of whom were not on the Camino, just on the Camino as a fun off-road ride. These guys zoom by with little warning and I’m surprised I haven’t seen a collision yet. At least they’re usually wearing helmets.
As before, there are official Camino sign posts and stelle, and then there are a slew of yellow arrows. These often appear, painted on the street, on fence posts, on sewer caps, etc. when the other signs are missing and they are very welcome. Natually, some wags can’t resist adding some graffiti to them.
I was happy to reach the outskirts of Pamplona and this year I decided not to take the stressful, loud 4.5 Km walk through the suburban downtown streets into town, and instead took an alternate route through a riverside park. It was slightly longer but so much more pleasant.
I was very happy to arrive in Pamplona itself and at the Casa Ibarrola albergue, one of the best in town. It has a unique dorm area with custom bunk modules, and is air-conditioned. Outstanding!
After 6-1/2 hours of walking today, I have a rest day planned here tomorrow. I’m looking forward to enjoying some local pinchos (tapas) and vino tonight and doing a little exploring tomorrow.
Inquiring Minds Want To Know: Since you asked, my legs and feet, while tired, are holding up very well to the daily effort. My back is a little sore from carrying the pack but not too bad. I think I’ll get a leg and foot massage tomorrow.