A day off can make you lazy!
I left Pamplona at around 07:00, but have to admit, I really battled.
One walks a few km’s through Pamplona (unfortunately the newer part, where architects showed no mercy for this otherwise beautiful city), and leaves the city at the campus of Universidad Navara.
And then the fun starts – gruelling hills on the most unstable surface (loose gravel and pebbles). I once again misjudged my water levels, and ran empty before I reached a well at Zariquiegui. There’s a beautiful church there but, not unlike everywhere else, churches here have become mostly tourist attractions – and they have only themselves to blame.
From there it’s a hellish climb to the top of the hill (surrounded by wind turbines), where the famous Pilgrims’ Memorial is located. Going up that hill was like giving birth (I think).
But the view was astonishing – so too the feeling of accomplishment having reached it.
But the real amusement came thereafter, as everything that goes up, must come down. A near 3km descent at one crazy gradient, on the most difficult surface – again loose rocks and pebbles, really works it’s way with your toes and knees. Add to this temperatures of around 36 degrees, and you’ll understand that smiles were few.
I met the German couple who’s been on the way with me since day one in Zariquiegui again (I bump into them nearly every day), and we met up again when the hellish down hill washed us out in Uterga. We were joined by an American girl whom I had lunch with in Pamplona – I’ve got no idea what her name is, and I suppose it doesn’t really matter.
From Uterga it was a fairly easy, though scorching, walk to Muruzábal. I arrived at about 13:15, and headed straight for the bar – beer really do save lives.
I’ve now entered Spain’s dryer region – it’s not the Meseta yet, but it’s dry and very hot. The landscape has also completely changed.
Someone asked me yesterday if the Camino is difficult? Well, it’s not a walk in the park, but a friend’s wife had a brain tumor removed last week, and compared to that I’m sure the Camino is a picnic!
She also asked how I prepared: well (honestly), I drank about 2 litres of beer everyday for three years, and I’m doing fine!
I’m tired now, but I feel really good. This is not a race – it’s a journey.
I really miss my boys and all my friends back home.
Ps. I really still feel very awkward taking my shoes and socks off whenever I stop at a restaurant or café, but one really has no choice. I’ve learnt here to ‘air’ my feet at least every 2 hours.
And remember: Vaseline is your friend!