Walked today: 7.3 miles Camino2019: 7.3 miles
It was a cool 54F with a light drizzle, when we left our hotel in Pamplona at 7:20 this morning.
We’re starting Camino 2019 unconventionally, by walking this segment out of the normal sequence. We haven’t been walking for several days now and are a bit “rusty”. Normally we’d begin in St Jean Pied de Port, France (SJPDP) and walk up the Pyrennes Mountains the first day. Many consider that the most difficult part of the Camino Frances, and we tend to agree. When we decided to stay an extra day in Pamplona to get over jet lag, we also decided it would be good to use part of the time to give our bodies a moderate test as preparation for the ultimate test up the Pyrennes. In about a week from now, having walked west from SJPDP, we’ll spend the night in a northeast suburb of Pamplona and the next morning will take a taxi skipping the section we walked today and rejoining the Camino from where we finished today.
We walked through Pamplona, the old city, then the modern city then through the edge of Universidad de Navarre and the suburb of Cizur Menor before leaving paved sidewalks.
The Camino entered into the countryside over a variety of walking surfaces ascending upward to the village of Zariguegui (pop. 179). It was, indeed, a good workout to retune our bodies and prepare for the walk up the Pyrennes ( Linda’s fitbit today indicated we walked up 69 floors… the first 4 miles of the Pyrennes from SJPDP registered 229 floors in 2017!)
We walked the 7.3 miles in just over 3 hours and stopped for a late breakfast at an albergue bar/restaurant and afterward, briefly, stepped inside the 12th century Romanesque Iglesia de San Andrés just before the 11:00 service.
We then returned to our hotel in Pamplona via taxi.
Leaving our packs in the room, we walked another mile or so to the bus station to buy tickets for the 10:00 a.m. bus to SJPDP tomorrow morning (44€).
On the return walk we stopped for a light lunch of tortillas, similar to what we call frittatas at home.
Our work completed for the day, we spent a leisurely afternoon reading, blogging and preparing for the 74km (45 mile), 1hr45min bus ride to SJPDP tomorrow.
Two common questions we are asked about the Camino are: 1- What is the walking surface, path, like? and 2- How do you find your way or avoid getting lost?
We collected some photos of the various walking surfaces and types of trail we walked during the 7 mile stretch this morning. It’s representative of the paths we will see on the Camino.
We also observed a variety of Camino markers which were plentiful and well placed at intersections and at frequent intervals along the path to reassure pilgrims that they are not lost.
We opted for a “normal” dinner tonight and stopped at a nearby restaurant next to one of the streets along the famous path of the San Fermin festival that occurs every July in Pamplona, more commonly known outside of Spain as the “running of the bulls”. We had a very nice dinner (32€). First course was mellon and ham for Linda and gespacho for Jim. We both had the salmon and roasted vegetables. For us, the Camino has always and continues to be a “culinary” experience as well!