Zubiri to Pamplona
Jardines – We got an earlier start this morning, leaving Zubiri around 8:30am, still a couple of hours behind the “normal” pilgrims. On the edge of Zubiri is the Puente de la Rabia, the first of many Medieval bridges we would cross on the Way. Our walk this morning was a beautiful hike through the woods of the western slopes of the Pyrenees.
I walked all morning in admiration of Basque agriculture; beautiful meadows with cattle and sheep, the land not under or over grazed, thousands of acres of rolling wheat fields, and most homes in the little towns had gardens producing vegetables and flowers.
Siesta – Today’s lesson from the pilgrimage, siesta is a big deal in Spain. We passed a fine opportunity for a noon meal in Zuriáin, lured by the promise of brick-oven, wood-fired pizza at the Horno Irotz, a short 2.1km away. The thought of eating pizza on a terrace overlooking the Arga valley propelled us westward. We arrived in Irotz at 1:30 AND FOUND EVERYTHING CLOSED FOR SIESTA, including the Horno Irotz. Dreams shattered, we continued plodding towards Pamplona with nothing in our bellies except stale baguette toast and apricot preserves.
Man in the Woods – Tired, hot, and thirsty, and still a few hours from Pamplona, we happened across a random man in the woods. He had a cooler full of bananas, oranges, water, and the Spanish equivalent of Gatorade, he was a lifesaver! And he didn’t charge, he only took donations and told us, “the Camino always provides.” It definitely provided the energy we needed to make the final descent into Pamplona.
¡Bacon and Eggs! – Mid-afternoon our trek transitioned from a peaceful walk in a pastoral setting to a bustling urban stroll. Pamplona and its suburbs were full of people and activities. The highlight of the afternoon – finding an open bar in Burlada and eating a delicious plate of bacon, fried eggs, fried potatoes, ensalada mixta, and stale baguettes! The restaurant was operated by a lovely, old Basque woman. After cooking our food, she brought beers for us (herself included) and sat at the table to join us. We had good conversations ranging from the natural beauty of Navarra to the similarities of Basques and Texans. She reminded me that the Basques have been around much longer than Texans, I couldn’t recall the Spanish expression for “whatever.” She even taught us a little Euskara before setting us off towards Pamplona.
¡Pamplona! – We straggled in Pamplona (again) in the late afternoon hot and tired.There was no rain and little cloud cover today, the heat was a welcome change but created a different kind of tired. Being in Pamplona though…this city gave off some sort of energy! We (mostly me, Jimmy is younger and in better shape) were able to muster the energy to walk around and explore the city. It is definitely a place I will visit again and maybe let bulls chase me through the streets!
Observations – First and foremost, the Camino provides. Secondly, we were angry at Horno Irotz for closing down when we wanted to eat, but then considered siesta is better for the universal good than making twenty bucks. I will intentionally try not to impose American capitalistic ideas on this place. I wonder if the Spanish McDonald’s take siesta? Thirdly, it is redundant when I refer to a “stale baguette.” And the fourth and final observation, Basque independence is alive and well.
And here’s a nice concept for our culture…