18 April Arriving in Pamplona to the south, I missed the grand entrance through the protection of the city citadel walls. It made for an interesting experience as I walked through the park along the river with strolling families and sportsmen – not the traditional scene of Peligrinos.
I rerouted off the customary course by a few kms in order to avoid the dreaded finding of a place to stay. A fellow Peligrino who is traveling a week ahead of me recommended this hotel by Facebook. He stayed here to nurse feet and tour the city,,,,the same intent I have.
After three days of walking I had already developed the pilgrim mindset and somehow felt out of place in this modern and contemporaneous environment. Thought the Navarians politely ignored me with my heavy backpack, five day beard growth and smell of the road, I definitely felt out of place.
Off the Trail
Checking into a modern hotel distanced me further from the ‘camino’. Although this was my typical environment, I quickly showered and left to find the area where the pilgrims hang-out for their accustomed acquaintance. They’re easy to find, Most Spaniards dress conservatively in subdued colors and have a regal, confident stride about them (at least the Basque do). Pilgrims are all dressed colorfully, they limp and they’re eyes are cast up and down and all around trying to capture the architecture, smells and unfamiliar sights. They too speak loudly and confidently, but just differently. And, oh yes, most of them limp by this stage, did I say that already? Oddly enough I missed the camino even though I was still on the camino, just in a nice hotel.
Smell the Roses
The plan was to “smell the roses” and sight-see through Hemingway’s Pamplona for an extra day. The Alburges kick you out promptly by 0800 and returning for a second night is not possible, so finding a reliable billet seemed logical. Hemingway must have been an astute observer of character as the Navarians are a proud and confident people and believe in their own special place in this world. It’s obvious from the way their children indulgently play in the streets and plazas without fear or recrimination.
Their capital is a splendid city of meandering alleys crenelated with detailed facades, laced with intricate ironworks and balconies. As in Madrid, the tourist come out during the day and the Spaniards (though some of them would disclaim that label) stroll around in the evenings. The architecture is ancient and marvelous, the ‘Tapas’ are delectable, the history and culture is evident. The city is one of means and import and meandering through its alleyways and ‘calles’ is a delight. The town is a wonder, but, by tomorrow morning I’ll be happy to rejoin the trail and privations with my fellow peligrinos.
Interesting Links (Camino Pamplona)
- Photos along the Camino and throughout the Iberian Peninsula
- Return to the beginning of this Journal Blog
- Enjoy our Journal Blog about our travels throughout Italy