Camino de Santiago Part the Third: Pamplona and Beyond


Apologies for this getting posted late! Yesterday was spent on trains, buses, planes, an unexpected cable car (I thought it was a train! Then the ground dropped away underneath me!), another train, an underground that I stayed on a little bit to long, and some wandering around an entirely unfamiliar city in the dark.

Now, however, I am sitting drinking tea in a living room in Cologne(!!!), so it’s postytime! (Yes, everything has a lot of exclamation marks today.)

At my last post on the Camino, me and my impeccable sense of direction had managed to get myself lost in Pamplona. Before we go on, however, I’ve been reliably informed that the videos I posted before didn’t have sound. I was on a pretty awful internet connection last week, so I’ve only now been able to get those uploaded again. Here they are, this time with commentary. Also, the sound of howling winds.

Pretty scenery!

Enough with the pretty scenery. My feet hurt.

Here is the place where, a few hours later, I devoured a massive burger and side of omgsogood garlicky courgettes and aubergines. I would have taken a photo of it, but I practically inhaled the thing in less time than it would take to pick up my camera.

Pamplona was lovely. It was a pity that I was exhausted, ravenous and hobbling when I was there- I would have loved to see more of the place. The municipal hostel was one of the nicer ones. The beds were comfortable and didn’t rattle, the showers were plentiful and hot. While there were a lot of beds per room, there were arranged in niches of four with little barriers between them, so it felt a little less open.

The next morning huuuurt. Oh my god, did it hurt. Actually, all of the mornings on the Camino hurt, but day three was one of the worst. After stumbling about for a while and pouring some terrible vending machine coffee down my throat, though, I did manage to get out before we were kicked out.

It was worth it.

Walking out of Pamplona was wonderful. It was my first morning walking alone. I was a little apprehensive about that. But honestly? It was lovely to have just me, my feet, and the countryside for company. The scenery was also incredibly different from the days before- a lot drier, less greens and more yellows.

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The first town I hit was Cizur Menor- I think that’s it in the distance in the pic above.

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It wasn’t far back from Cezur to Pamplona:

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I absolutely loved how, now I was out of the mountains, the countryside seemed to open up into huge rolling vistas where I could see for miles and miles. It was, y’know, a bit awesome.

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I have no idea what the name of this village was. But it was little, and it was pretty, and it made me incredibly happy to walk through. It also came equipped with a public toilet. This may or may not have significantly contributed to my absolute love for the place.

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Follow the yellow arrows!
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After a long morning’s hike up the hillsides, here was Alto del Perdón. One of my favourite things about the Camino was coming across places like this, almost every day.

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After a morning like that, things couldn’t stay easy. The way down the other side of the hill from Alto del Perdón? I don’t think I’d ever (yet) been in so much pain from walking downhill. My right knee hurt like hell with every step. I have no idea how I’d have made it without my walking stick. Even so, the couple of kilometers down the hill were agonisingly slow. Not to mention rocky. Not to mention that it was getting on to the afternoon now, and the sun was hot.

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Things got a lot more bearable after that, though

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And a couple of kilometers later, I was treated to this amazing, wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, stunningly fantastic cafe. It had chairs. And thick, filling lentil soup with giant hunks of soft, crusty bread. Also, a thriving population of kittens.

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I seem to have left the camera in my pocket for the rest of this day. The last few kilometers of the day were hard- my feet were sore, I was tired, and it was oh so hot. At the end of the day in Puente la Reina, I treated myself to a bed in a private hostel annexed to a hotel. In a room with only four other people! With its own bathroom! And wifi!
What more could anyone ask for?

 

Edited to add: This is my 100th post! Woooop! You know, when I started this blog I wondered how I’d think of anything to write about after the first ten or twelve entries. Turns out that hasn’t exactly been a problem, has it?

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