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Published: September 25th 2016
Today has been mixed in all respects.
We started in the semi dark. The little shop/bar hadn't opened yet for breakfast but we knew we could get some later at a cafe so carried on.
We carried on over the bridge back to the Camino. The lights from the hillside houses shone golden amongst the woodland and there was a pink wash across an indigo sky.
We must have been walking close to the river as we could hear a gentle rush as we continued amongst the trees and hedgerows. We sometimes got a glimpse of the river sometimes still sometimes a little frothy.
The rain then threatened and caused us to try out our rain capes. As it turns out it was a shower and we were soon able to de robe.
As the landscape opened out it became more industrial and the day started to become warmer. The terrain is hard underfoot with a lot of the path being on tarmac, cement or big harsh white stones similar to those found in the kinder/mam tour area of the peak district. If you're not familiar with that its like white gravel or stone chippings might be in the land of the giants. Very sharp and hard.
One of my aims was to get to Pamplona in good time to try and do something about my back pack. We went through a few villages on the way and then reached Villava which, I have to say I wouldn't really recommend. It seemed to be mainly along one street, narrow for then size of the typically three storey buildings which were an unusual mix of new brick and old buildings. As we left the town there was a much nicer feel with tree lined avenues and more greenery.
It wasn't long before we crossed the medieval bridge to Pamplona. Pamplona had a lovely feel to it and there is an ancient part to it. I however made my way to tourist information, donated my maps and found out where there was a very good outdoor shop (just across the road on the Camino, and where the post office was.
The man in the outdoor shop was absolutely brilliant. He knew exactly the problem which I am delighted to say is nothing to do with me being too tall and is down to the hip strap not staying in place as its not sewn together at the rucksack side. I can further report and I am delighted to be able to say this, that according to the Osprey measurements, I am in fact a medium woman. Not a man and not a large woman!
By this time I had become separated from the main group of pilgrims. In fact I was the only one for quite a few km and the sun was getting hot so after eating a ham and cheese French stick cob which I had cunningly bought earlier I got on my way.
As I walked along a main street in Pamplona a rather dapper looking man in a cream linen suit and Panama had wished me Buen Camino. Not long after a little older lady points to the steel shells shining at regular intervals along the road to remind me to follow the sign of the path. As I made my way through a treeline avenue of a park area in the outskirts another Spanish man stopped me to wish me Buen Camino and talk to me. It was ulpifting.
As I pounded the tarmac streets of the city and the giants' white chippings on the tracks the heat (c26 degrees), being unaccustomed felt scorching. Apparently two weeks earlier it had been 42 degrees C. My energy was sapped and it was a hard slog. I couldn't have done it with my old rucksack though and it was definitely the right decision to cut my losses.
Because I'd stayed in Pamplona I was also alone. There were no signs of any other friends or pilgrims at all. After a while I spotted another lone walker, David, and we walked the rest of the day together but staying in separate albergues so we wished each other Buen Camino and went on our separate ways.
In the albergue there were about 6 bunks in our small room, a maximum of about 18" apart. A bit of a cram you might say! Only one at a time could get at their rucksack or do anything. Non the less the place was nice and the company was good.
Being late on arrival I was, of course, on the top bunk. When I hoisted myself up there it trembled and shookband I feared for the person below me especially in the night.
All became equal when the person, dare I say it a rather portly older American gentleman got in the bed that night. I shook and rocked so much and at intervals in the night when he turned over that in thought the Camino was all a strange illusion and I was really at sea in a boat. In different circumstances, it mightnhave been more like a flight on Aladdin's magic carpet but on this occasion I was glad not to be sea sick.
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