Good friendship is a land of compromise and when I think of all Frances has modified for me I am ashamed of my selfish 'but I want to do it all' thoughts: So we pop into the Bar below Signora Bento Berri's apartment get our breakfast and set off for the bus stop. Waiting in the sunshine it becomes obvious that the regular bus service is a 'no go' on a Holy Thursday.
Because Frances was so tired yesterday we had agreed to little or no walking today, however she is 'very perky' now and suggests we 'walk on for a bit and catch a bus later on'-sounds good to me.
Of course we walk on and keep on walking on and on by the river. It's a beautiful walk not scary or dangerous so we can really enjoy the spring flowers, birds song and happy pilgrims passing by-we even catch a sunny siesta in a lush green field. What a treat to get the boots off, wiggle the toes and a do some blister repairs/prevention.
'I don't know how but we missed the turn off for Larrasoana so by the time we hit the main road its only a few kms to Pamplona- hardly worth taking a bus-so we press on.....(I give a little secret hurrah!)
Hellebores by the hundreds growing like weeds and I laugh to think of my pampered little darlings at home .
Frances has some sort of National Trust signage and administrative crisis-in fact she looses her temper (which means she presses her lips together, exhales gently, uses the phrases "for Gods sake" and "bloody ridiculous" and even gesticulates-which is all a bit shocking) at a rather long but very scenic 're-route' devised to avoid a 30 foot bit of path slippage. I make a strategic decision to walk ahead for a bit.
The re-route that broke the pilgrims back
We keep coming across these little furry fellows walking head to tail across the path forming chains that can be 3 to 4 metres long. This chain had been broken by a cyclist (even the caterpillers aren't safe from those demons) and were having some crisis dealing with the fact that now "they who were last shall be made first"
Chains of Furryboys at Monte Miravalles
"Hey you up there can you see whats going on up?".... "I don't know mate looks like some kind of accident- we could be here for hours"
Trinidad De Arre and we feel fantastic to have done the 26kms that seemed so impossible last night. Maybe that's the trick-everyday we should tell ourselves "No you don't have to walk today you can catch a bus at anytime.............but lets take a little stroll first".
Bridge over Rio Ulzama at Trinidad de Arre just before Pamplona -nice place to stop off.
Walk into a park see the iconic Puenta de la Magdelana in late afternoon sun and collapse in a heap on a park bench to savour the moment. Busy Pamplonans hurry past looking smart and we feel a bit grubby. Our first big city and its the first time we feel 'autre'- outside and apart from the 'regular' lives all around us.
There's some sort of street party going on as we head into the city and when we ask for directions a sweet, but completely stoned, young man engages us in over enthusiastic conversation whereupon his be-studded Goth girlfriend sternly tells him off and then courteously points us in the right direction. I wish I could tell her mum how gracious and kind her daughter is to middle aged pilgrims.
Tramp on up to the Plaza del Castilo and celebrate by sitting in the square with a cool beer-its exquisite just to stop walking and sit.
Mrs Tiggywinkle has nothing on us as we do a major laundry in the evening, and our little washing line proves it was worth every cent.
Pamplona is wonderful, loud and lively. At a tapas bar we stuff ourselves with delicious food and wine -as for entertainment well watching all the families, from Grannies to tiny kids, out socialising is enough to keep you going for hours. There's no music blaring the incredible noise is just people talking to family and friends.
As its Holy Thursday we head up to the Cathedral at 9pm- the a cappella service is candlelit and attended by a congregation of 50-60 max. We move from one chapel to another with a great palanquin bearing a statue of the Mater Dolorosa, and as the Stabat Mater is sung the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It's Perfect, profound and moving. When service is over the congregation leaves quietly and soberly- such a contrast to the boisterous crowds of earlier on.
Going posh in Pamplona.
The single best purchase our 'twisty no pegs needed' washing line that we can, with the use of walking poles, rig up anywhere-a godsend