September 6th 2014 – Day 3
Zubiri to Pamplona, 21km
It was 5.30am when I decided to make a move from my top bunk in the albergue. There were 8 in this small room; 4 Spanish, Ann Marie from New Zealand, a girl from Chile, a young guy from Italy and myself. All were sleeping soundly by the time I decided to leave although the Italian guy was a pretty bad snorer and had kept a few of us awake at the start of the night. The Spanish girls seem to get great fun out of it judging by their laughter! I enjoyed Zaldiko and Zubiri and thought to myself that I would stay there again should I return.
Once I stepped out and made my way over the Puente la Rabia, I had one thing on my mind….breakfast! I didn’t find a tienda to buy some fruit the day before so I just would have to make do without until I got to a cafe. It was 6am and it would be a while before I would see anything open. Maybe Larrasoana might have a cafe open? I started off alone this morning but it didn’t take long before I met other pilgrims. It was pitch black and all I could see and hear were the lights from torches and folks talking in various languages; Spanish, Italian, French. No English. When you leave Zubiri, you also get to walk by a pretty ugly industrial factory which took a while to pass by. The noise from it could be heard for miles. I didn’t see the crew from the night before, maybe they had left earlier. I didn’t mind. But I always had an eye open for any of them so I could have some company. I got talking to Christina from Argentina closer to Larrasoana who was walking to Burgos. She had great English and was really eager to talk. She had walked the Camino before and was stopping in the places where she didn’t stay last time. A wise choice. Just outside of Larrasoana as I was in hunt of a cafe, I see an Englishman called Bob. He had been in the town and told me that there was nothing open. Strange I thought, as it was close to 7am at this stage. He said there was a fiesta there all night and that none of the cafes are serving to pilgrims. Hmm..fiesta? That explains why the albergue was closed, and not bed bugs!!
I walk on past Larrasoana and am met by Bob and Leslie from Canada. Leslie looked like she was struggling. We discussed the Larrasoana affair also before mentioning that David is not far ahead! Aha..great! Someone who can match my pace! On I go a further 3 or 4 km before I reach Zurian situated on a river. It is a fab place and I stop by watching the river flow. It has an open cafe so I order my first cafe con leche of the day. Yum! I meet some of the Irish ladies from the first day. I was in no hurry here and would have stayed here for the night if it was closer to 1 or 2.
It was only 8am however, and I had a lot of walking to do before I called it a day. The Camino crosses the Rio Argo a number of times before reaching Pamplona’s suburbs but there is alot of walking through forests and wooden areas before I see any evidence of the city. There are a few steep ascents and descents to make before reaching Pamplona especially around Irotz. I really had to take my time here. It’s disheartening when you climb to the top of a hill and then see another stretch that needs to be climbed. The ever rising sun made it harder also. But I reached Zabaldika shortly after. I was another 8km to the suburbs but wanted to call it a day. Onwards!… I kept saying to myself.
Passing Zabaldika led me to another incline and further decline. I don’t know who designed the Camino to have us walk this way as there is a park just below that walks in the same direction and it is all flat. I pass Monte Miravalles and now I am on the home straight towards Pamplona. There are many suburbs to pass through and I begin to walk on asphalt paths until I reach my final destination. Sometimes I prefer this, today I do. I catch up with a group of 3 guys and 1 girl from Germany. They were kind of unsure where the Camino would take them now they were approaching a major city. The waymarks change from being signposts to being painted on the ground. The arrows can be hard to find and we needed to ask a few locals if we were going in the right direction. They were staying in Casa Paderborn (a German-run albergue in Pamplona) while I had decided to stay in the main albergue inside the city walls. All four were taking their time on the Camino and had no time when they needed to be home. The joys of university! If only I had known about this treasure at that time.
We reach Pamplona close to midday under the hot sun, passing Arre, Burlada and Villava. They say their goodbyes and turn to their albergue while I go in search of the city walls and the main municipal albergue. It is not due to open until 12.30 so I am early. I eventually find it (just beside the Cathedral) and meet the crew from the night before. I also see most of the crowd from day one, so I was delighted to see them. I took my pack off, placed it in the queue and drop to the ground exhausted. I had planned yesterday to go to Cizur Menor but that wasn’t going to happen. Pamplona was bussling and I was eager to see some of the sights. First I needed to check in, find a bed, wash and look after a blister that had appeared after my first day. Oh..and food!!
Later that day, David, Bob, Leslie and myself walked through the city. It was a weekend also, so it is worth pointing out that not much happens on weekends in Spain. Osasuna, the local football team were playing a game in the evening and many of the team’s fans were in the streets drinking openly and singing before the game started. It had a real fiesta atmosphere to it, but probably a little too much drink was being consumed. I also got a harsh reminder of how and when food is served in Spain. We made do with pinchos until 7pm when we could order the menu del dia. Phew! There are great advantages in making your own dinner.
Some of the crew from the meal in Zubiri were going to stay in Pamplona for an extra night so I said my goodbyes to them then, while I also met a new face. Anna from Estonia was walking from St Jean to Logrono and myself and David asked that she join us in the morning. I love meeting new people!