Tuesday, August 6th
And thus endeth the night in the garage. Not a great night, maybe the three glasses of red wine didn't help. Whatever. I don't care anymore. Notmother probably stayed awake all night fretting about the expense of having to buy new sandals, a sleeping bag and a t-shirt, as her luggage didn't end up where it was supposed to. Probably somewhere over Moscow by now.
The backpackers in the carpark probably had it bad last night; or the girls allocated to the alcove of the church, whatever, we definitely had the penthouses of garages. Huge house above, then again, they're all huge around here.
Breakfast. Got ahead of the others. The 8kms to here was easy, following the river, the water so clear you could see the pebbles on the bottom. Overtaking other pilgrims, including the couple of limping ones, the two Spanish ones, the one with a bell attached to his pack that tinkles with every step, the one from Roncevalles with boyfriend dependency issues is now sporting a bandaged ankle and not walking too well at all, and Zarah with the now-bloodied heels, and another girl who has a Woody Woodpecker fluffy toy attached to her backpack..
The church is locked, but I'm about eglised out anyway. And, over there, two cats scrounging for scraps. Philippe, Teresa and Notmother have arrived. They're stopping for a while too.
Okay, here comes Tinklepilgrim again. I have no idea how his walking partner stands it. The noise would drive me nuts. I think I prefer silence.
image taken from http://www.caminosantiagocompostela.com
And the only feckin' phonebox in this somewhat large suburb of Pamplona has been vandalized.
But, according to Philippe, we're in the best cafe in Spain. My first Cafe Con Leche, and a chocolate bread, whatever they're called in Spanish. As usual, Philippe is probably right, this one would be hard to beat. The coffee is great, the bread delicious, it's full of other backpackers at other tables.
At the bridge into town.
Philippe explaining, as we pass three old men, that, in Spain, the chic fashion accessory for older men is the toothpick. And the ability to slide it from side to side is a statement of your manhood. These three there, all suckin' on their large toothpicks, thinkin' their cool. All these old guys probably voted for Franco. They're probably wishing they could dig the bastard up so they could vote for him again.
The refugio has moved. It used to be virtually in the city centre, but now a fairly hefty walk to a school on the outskirts that's been transformed into a massive refugio. Imagine a school gymnasium with wall to wall bunk beds and that's pretty much it.
Officialdom. Waiting in the queue for the procedural stuff, the form, the passport stamp, and Notmother seems to regard the front desk as some kind of Tourist Agency, wanting phone numbers for the San Sebastian airport. But finally in, we're allocated beds, and dump the stuff. Then out. Wander time.
Okay, I'm not in the street where they run the bulls, but I've certainly walked it. Didn't have an open cafe, it's siesta time. Have no idea when Siesta starts or ends, but the Olazti Bar and some of the Tourist Shops are the only ones doing business. Oh well, it's a nice enough place anyway.
There's a t-shirt place on the main drag, that specializes in the Running of the Bulls, and has a mightily tempting one with a large photograph of one of the more unfortunate runners being trampled.
Slow walking. Stuff seems incredibly cheap in Spain, or maybe just compared to France. Food is cheap, I keep thinking they must've made a mistake in the total, but no, that's just the way it is. A Cafe Grande is only a euro. In France, they're two. And if I needed to replace my walking boots, I could do it for about 35 euros.
Anyway, it's a
My favourite cafe in Melbourne is the Brown Sugar. Imagine that, now widen the street a little, give all the windows above the shops metal balconies with flowers, then multiply it to city size, add large green parks and gardens, stick an enormous Cathedral in the middle, pave the streets with large cobblestones, add a few statues, preferably large ones of Queen Isabella and others, give all the pedestrians a vaguely brownish complexion, and there you have it. Oh, you have to replace the MCG with a bullring.
Somehow found the Internet Cafe, although the Planet Internet is more Internet than Cafe. Just love them hotmails. Told Rory about the t-shirt I'd seen. And the less-than-mighty Geelong got annihilated by the North Melbourne poofters.
Then to the bookshops. Librarie Gomez Tecnic. More stuff on website creation than I thought possible, pity it was all in Spanish. Then over the road to Librarie Gomez, tried the travel section looking for information on Madrid. Trying to figure out how to actually get from Madrid City to Madrid Airport. I know it's weeks off, but, you know, once some concern lodges in the back of your mind ... unfortunately, if whatever I looked at had the information, I didn't understand it, as it was in Spanish too.
Bejaysus, this refugio even has it's own medics tending the walking wounded. Red vests with white crosses. These cripples have only been on the road three days, and they're calling in the medics already. Just bloody pathetic. Lordy, they even have an ambulance outside, the chick with dependency issues probably needs it.
In the Middle Ages, special hospitals were set up in each important town the pilgrims passed through. The remains of them are still to be seen.
I hope it means they will give it away. The queues might get shorter. And I don't know where all these kiddies came from.
Now this is embarrassing. because I intend to stay a second day in Pamplona I won't be with the others, and they've given me a present. A scallop shell, which I've attached to me backpack. The legend goes that if you lose the shell, you won't complete The Way.
Tea was at a fast food place. Somehow Clementine, Saint Francis and Guy turned up. So that's seven, as Philippe, Teresa and Notmother were there too. Hamburgers with red wine. It was good. Teaching Guy how to say "ice cream". Guy has even less English than I have French. It was a struggle for him to say it, but after a few attempts he finally managed it.
But, in a way, from tomorrow, it's almost as if I'm starting again. Back to not knowing anybody. This might be good. I've been given permission to stash my backpack here, at the refugio, so I can look around the town some more in the morning. There's no bullfights tomorrow, so damn, there's no point in trying for a third day. But the Cathedral is open at 10:00 for a special mass. Apparently, it's been having renovations for quite some time, but open tomorrow, then close again for God knows how long.