Along with Mats and Brad, we shared a room with Santiago, a young man from Brazil whom we met walking alone in the wet the day before, and two other men. I still haven’t adjusted to the new time zone so I am not getting as much sleep as I would like but hey, my metabolism is revved up anyway.
We started in the dark and wet mist, but the weather improved as we walked. However, the trail was still slippery. Linda took a tumble on a steep slope with a stone path. In BC you would avoid the stone as our moss/fungus/slime would have made it too treacherous, so she walked the edges in her ‘dawgs’ (upscale flip flops) and slipped on the wet mud. Aussie Wayne quickly came to the rescue with a first aid kit, put a band-aid on her arm and fixed her hiking pole.
Meanwhile, I had to attend to my big toe blister with some surgery. A year ago I attended a Blister 101 workshop put on by the Canadian Society of Pilgrims and had picked up some tips. I had a hotel sewing kit with pre-threaded needles. I sterilized the needle with hand sanitizer and sewed the needle and thread into the blister and cut off the needle. The thread dangles out each end allowing the blister to drain and helping prevent infection getting in. A Compeed blister pad was used to cover it, then a toe sock ad a tie spacer to keep the next toe away from it. A hot spot on the side of my heel is covered with another Compeed as a precaution, and we head off again.
Further on we come to a bridge where Wayne and his two Italian companions were resting. Across the river, we spot a cafe and head there for another cafécon leche. It is full, and even the garden tables are all occupied, but there are empty chairs. I grab one and spot Mats sitting by himself at a small table.
‘Can we join you?’ He smiles and nods.
People are streaming in filling empty seats joining strangers. Others are leaving and continuing on. It is a very social scene. Soon Mats leaves, and someone takes his seat. Not too long later Linda and I leave and start walking again.
We made our way to Pamplona and booked into a small municipal albergue run by Germans alongside a quiet spot on the river, just below the centre of the ancient town. Pamploma was the first big town we had come to. Big enough to support a telephone shop where we could buy Sim cards for our phones. The guidebook suggests we stop at Café Iruna a famous art deco café on the main square. I run into Mats on the way there, and we chat for a minute. Mats had booked into the main municipal albergue near the cathedral.
I sit at a table nearest the square so Linda, who was shopping, can spot me. Three female pilgrims or pelegrinas sit at the next table and Linda joins me and eventually Mats who wandered by. We meet the pelegrinas: Lisa from Finland, Emily and Patty from South Carolina. They have all booked into a hotel.
Coming home in the dark after eating tapas we meet Steffen sitting on a bench chatting with the German volunteers; he too was staying here. It feels strange but comforting to keep running into the same people. Linda and I had two beds in a small six-bunk room for women, although, men had to go through our room to get to theirs!
Time on trail: 8hrs
Weather: sunny with clouds
Distance travelled: 21k
Distance to go: 708 k
Food: apple tart, coffee, tortilla, tapas: goat cheese with caramelized onion on toast, tuna stuffed pastry, and a chocolate ice cream.
Lesson learned: change socks more often
Aches and pains: sore feet.