I had a lovely relaxed Sunday morning in Pamplona with Pete because he didn’t need to leave until about 3.30pm and, as we won’t see each other again until July, we wanted to enjoy the city as much as possible. I needed to start walking by 2pm to arrive at Albergue San Andres in Zariquiegui about 12 km out of Pamplona in time to shower, wash clothes and have dinner. I had rung Sergio the night before to reserve a bed as I have heard of several people needing to go to up to 4 different albergues in order to find a bed and Zariquiegui is a small place.
We visited the cathedral, which was an impressive Gothic construction housing the tomb of Carlos III and his wife Leonor, and had a pleasant brunch before Pete walked with me to the outskirts of the city.
It all sounded like a good plan until I started to walk. It was boiling and there seemed to be a never ending dusty road in front of me curling up a mountain. I stopped in Cizur Menor for water and bananas and to air my feet. I could feel the sun burning my face and arms but there was nothing I could do about it except keep on. Eventually I met a couple of Brazilians, possibly father and son, they didn’t look in a good way and admitted they had run out of water. I was fairly sure that the hamlet I could see above us was where I was staying, so I gave them the water I had left. At the top of the next hill there were two benches beneath a tree where a Belgian pilgrim had died. I flopped down in the shade and prayed I was correct about the collection of houses above being Zariquiegui. Eventually the Brazilians joined me. They didn’t look at all well and I had no more water. They were meant to be going further than me but the “father” wanted to try and find a bed as soon as possible.
The first wall I came to had a plaque above a water fountain with the right village name on it. Never have I been so pleased to see a water fountain. When I got to the albergue the pilgrims sitting outside said there was no room. I was so glad I had booked before. I’m learning, slowly. I think I will try to avoid the big places and always phone ahead to book a bed as today I would have found it very hard indeed to carry on.
I arrived to find France was here as well. A lovely surprise.