Into the river and through the woods

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March 20th 2011
Published: March 20th 2011
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Route with Linsey

Wet DayWet DayWet Day

The rains did not let up
Our time in Roncensevilles had come to a close just as the torrential rains began. Just a couple hours south of us the roads had turned to rivers and small European cars had become life rafts for stranded Spaniards. KIA´s may be greener but a Chevy Silverado wouldn´t have been swept away with the first spring rain. Luckily the more northern parts were spared from complete flooding but it made for an interesting 12 mile descent into Zurig, our end destination for the day.

A warm cup of coffee and a pastry for breakfast served to warm us up as we set off in the rain. Although it was pointless to attempt to keep our feet dry, we tried to dodge as many puddles as possible until we came across the inevitable- an overflown creek with no bridge or crossing point. At its narrowest it was about 4 1/2 feet and sadly just small enough for me to believe I could clear it in a jump. I didn´t. To be fair, I hit the bank but the soggy mud sank under me and I fell in. (Artfully managing, however, to keep my bag dry.) Linsey decided she could toss her

Steps of the Iglesia
bag on the bank and then try to maneuver across. She threw her bag, landed it on the bank, and then watched as it rolled backwards into the fast moving water. I gave out a sigh of resignation as I dove back in the water and marched after her bag luckily snagging it, but not before everything was soaked. Just when we thought we survived the worst, we made it 50 more yards before another bigger and faster creek was overflown. A group of older hikers had taken off their shoes and pants, traversed the river, and were bragging about their dry pants. They looked on horrified as Linsey and I bulldozed our way through the river, and even more horrified when I tripped and went face first into the water. Safely on the other side, Linsey and I composed ourselves and strutted off with as much dignity and poise as we could muster. Honestly, the water crossing was a big hit with the other pilgrims- It felt unneccesarily American. After finishing the last 10 miles soaking wet, Linsey and I found a nice hostel, a washer/dryer, a cafe con leche, and a cigar- Perfect finish to a perfectly obscure
St. Patty´s DaySt. Patty´s DaySt. Patty´s Day

can´t celebrate St Patrick without a silly hat

From Zurig we hiked in spotty rain until reaching Pamplona, my favorite city so far. The scenery changed from high snowy mountains and hardwood forests to evergreens and flowing green hills dotted with wineries and churches. After almost 60 miles of hiking in the first days, our feet had finally recovered and we made quick time of the rollingly gentle hike. The first night in Pamplona required a celebration for St. Patricks day. I´ve always appreciated the Irish for the innevitable proximity of a good Irish pub no matter where you go in the world. Linsey and I found ours and enjoyed a couple Guiness but after long days of hiking our celebration was a tame appreciation to be warm and dry for a couple days.

We tried to make use of our time for Linsey´s last day in Spain. We toured the most intricately detailed and grand sanctuary that we have seen yet, made a trip to two museums, and spent the afternoon relaxing in the public park of Pamplona. We still hadn´t transitioned to "Spanish Time", which basically centers around Siesta from at least 4-7, so we ran into trouble trying to eat around 7:30.

Quite a view for a lunch break
We patiently waited until 9:30 to eat at Cafe Laruna, one of Hemmingways famous haunts. The food was decent but what one would expect when entering a known tourist hotspot. The streets are empty until 9:00 and then the world explodes with food, music, and drinks. We toured around on last time stopping for coffee and a cup of melted chocolate that people drink like coffee. I´m not sure what the Spanish name for the chocolate concoction is but I am calling it diabetis from now on. The final nightcap was a glass of wine in the hostel while I beat Linsey at "go fish".

Linsey hopped in her taxi at 5:30 in the morning and I made my lonely way to the bus stop to ride west to Puerta La Reina. It was great to have somebody to travel with that is completely comfortable in any situation and accepts the ambiguous travel plans of a sometimes irrational albeit well-meaning younger brother. Her impressive linguistic skills will be missed but not as much as her company and conversation.

My photos arent uploading right now but I will add them soon.

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outer walkway in the courtyard of Pamplona´s largest church

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