Memorable, for sure

Larrasoana to Cizur Menor

22 km
April 3, 2015
Good Friday
I would not think it was so easy to lose track of time, but if I did not write the date each day, I would swear we had been here at least a week, not three days. I wish you were here, Kimiko, I could sure use shiatsu! Brian is helping with Voltaren. Margaret does not have muscle aches but blisters! Very unusual for Margaret! She is not going to use those sock liners anymore.

This was a rest day compared to the last two. We only walked 22 km where yesterday we walked 28 km. We did some sightseeing. The first was the best. We arrived at a river where we had the choice of staying low along the river or crossing the River Arga and climbing a steep hill to see a 13th century church. Margaret and I headed up the hill to Zabaldika. Brian followed. Half way up, heart pounding, I thought, “I sure hope this is worth it.” The daffodils and view alone were worth it. The American couple who followed agreed. We read on the door of Iglesia San Estaban, that we had to ring a bell on the adjacent house, upstairs, if we wanted someone to unlock the door. Brian said to forget it. I started toward the house. A wonderful gray-haired lady came to me with a warm smile and a six-inch-long black iron key. I mustered as much Spanish as I could and she produced a sheet of information about the church in English for each of us. There were info sheets available in at least 15 languages. When we knelt to pray, she brought us a prayer/ reflection sheet about walking the Camino and life. What a beautiful experience. She also invited us to climb the narrow stone spiral staircase up the bell tower. It’s a good thing a sign said we could ring the two huge cast brass bells, because Brian was going to anyway. The larger bell had a crack in it; so, it did not have the lasting vibration of the smaller one. I felt it go through my whole being.

So today’s lesson is: the detours are totally worth it and if you have to ask for something extra, just do it!

We proceeded to Pamplona and spent considerable time walking through it… Large city… 200,000…cobbled streets. Iron balconies, stone coat of arms on walls, a magnificent cathedral that was packed with Catholics for a Good Friday service and crowded with tourists including us, quietly walking up the side aisles, gazing up, down and around at stained glass saints, gold statuary, enormous processional floats (pasos) of the Madonna and Jesus on the cross that are going to be carried by a lot of strong men in a night-time commemoration of the passion through the streets of Pamplona. Men also stood in the church wearing colourful penitential hoods and cloaks.

Rather than stay in Pamplona, we walked another five kilometres to Cizur Menor, a quiet village. We are in Albergue Maribel Roncal, in bunks in a room for eleven people. We have done our laundry, drank white wine in sunshine, visited with others.

So far we have met hikers from England, Ireland, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, South Korea, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil and from the U.S. from Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota and Chicago and one from Ottawa!

Supper across the street in a restaurant now.

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