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Published: April 23rd 2012
We are only learning how to use this blog so all you smug tecchies should not laugh too hard! Uploading photos.s is proving a challenge so please excuse us. We are now in Pamplona but will recapto give you details of each day.
Saturday 21st April- Roncesvalles to Zurbiri
Early start among the hordes of pilgrims emerging from what must be one of the largest and most efficiently run hostels ever encountered. Cold grey morning and need for time to shake off the wine and brandy from the night before. Madeleine now approves of Soberano but is determined it will give her heartburn! Down though the woods where they once burnt witches, to Burguete and promised breakfast in the panaderia. This morning the screw fell out of Maddy´s glasses and we stuck them togeter with micropore. We stopped in the supermarket to ask for a watchmakers screwdriver but they had nothing small enough. On to thebakery, where we encounter our erstwhile drinking companions from Leicester and their French (Montélimar) friend Michel. Since, by now, news of Maddy´s predicament has spread along the Camino, Michel produces a large thin and extremely sharp knife, which Maddy promptly confiscates and uses to fix the offending screw!
On through wooded countryside over two steep climbs in heavy rain with the occasional lifting of cloud to reveal tantaliizing vistas of beautiful valleys and pastures. Hot chocolate stop before a really steep climb, at the top of which we feasted on hot and flavoursome tortilla, surrounded by clusters of cowslips and wood violets of amazingly deep hue.
The last extremely slippery and muddy descent took us into Zurbiri, over an anciennt stone bridge, and we checked into the Albergue Zaldico. It was here that maddy looked at her feet and discovered that the discomfort she´d been feeling was due to a severe development of her incipient blister into an infection in and around the nailbed. The hostel manager was quick off the mark with iodine, antiseptic and needle and thread and treated and bandaged what she could but advised that the septic area would need to be lanced at the hospiital in Pamplona and there would be no buses there until Monday morning. Since there was nothing else we could do we repaired to the bar round the corner to consider the problem! They say a problem shared is a problem halved and tere was certainly plenty of advice on offer from all our fellow travellers. After the first glass of wine we decided we would take a taxi to Pamplona on Sunday morning and go straight to the hospital. Then our amazing landlady appeared in the bar and organised a taxi for us for 9.00 the next day. A convivial evening was spent as we all partook of the pilgrim menu and we retired to bed at least clear about the next step to take.
Sunday 22nd April- Zurbiri to Pamplona
The taxi picked us up at 9.00 and we awere at the hospital by 9.25! What a rude and rapid way to travel and how much we must have missed onthe way! A lovely welcoming doctor lanced the nail and drained the wound. Madeleine, the stoic, never flinched but, instead, asked anxiously if she would be able continue the Camino. The doctor advised that, providing she was able to wear open walking sandals for about 5 days, this should be possible. On no account must her toes rub against any surface, even when healed. Heartened, we walkedon to the tourist officeonly to be advised it had moved. retracing our stepsthrough Pamplona we foundits new location and the helpful lady found us a lovely hotel with Michelin starred food! With a rest day on Monday all we had to do was dump our bags for two whole nights and fall into a luxurious hot bath. Total bliss!
On to the Museum of Navarre tosample a little culture andthen we felt we deserved our Sunday lunch, which was occupied in sampling the exceptional tapas menu in the bar next door to our hotel. Sumptuous morsels of local speciality food and half a bottle of Albarinho each and we were able to enjoy a delightful siesta. The evening was spent strolling round the town and visiting the Cafe Iruña, Pamplona´s art nouveau treasure, for revueltos con gambas. We met several fellow pilgrims thereand were able to learn thatour 64 year old Canadian friend Catherine (whom we encountered in the first hostel in St Jean) had made it safely and was holed up in bed in the local municipal hostel.
Monday 23rd April- Pamplona
Oh the joys of being able to have a healthy breakfast! We were able to fill our plates with fruit and didn´t have to rush anywhere. The kind lady in the tourist office had supplied us with details of specialist walking shops, so, after breakfast, we sauntered over to an emporium which sold the usual mixture of international sports wear. Maddy now has extremely posh walking sandals and an array of specialist socks, so we´re hoping and praying that she will be able to continue tomorrow. We change the wound dressings every day, with medication supplied by the doctor and we even have a syringe of penicillin to inject if things should get worse again. Fellow walkers have been so helpful, including the Australian couple we met at breakfast, who insisted on giving us soft Australian wool to wrap around the sore spots! Today we´ve visited the Cathedral and had our cards stamped there. A local optician´s shop kindly tightened and polished Maddy´s glasses gratis!. Post siesta more strolling and then we´re booked in for our Michelein starred meal in the hotel at 9.00. We hope we´ll be able to get up in the morning!
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