Saturday, September 26, 2015

Zubiri and Pamplona

Mariah and I wonder why we waited until our 60s to attempt the most difficult physical endeavor either of us have ever taken upon ourselves? We have catapulted ourselves into a new world where the simple basics seem critical......  well being of our feet, knees, lungs, hips, shoulder blade muscles, a shower, water spigots, los banos, food availability , shelter for the night, adjustment of back pack straps, heat stroke to name but a few.
Yesterday evening after 9 hours on the Camino trail we entered the village of Zubiri crossing over an amazing medieval bridge . Population of Zubiri is 400. Mariah's on the move internet skills procured us a room at the only hotel in town.....The Hosteria de Zubiri. At first sight I thought it said Hotel Hysteria and at that point we did feel a bit hysterical... We have gotten through a lot in our first few days by laughing a lot! 

Today 10 hours total on the trail for us which includes village cafe stops for the best cappuccinos ! Spain knows their coffee!
We arrived in the highly populated big city of Pamplona walking past the huge ancient city fortress walls through a draw bridge gate that dates back to the 11th & 12th centuries. We were surprised to find ourselves  in the middle of an entire city celebration party going on in the middle of the streets. From what we could gather it's the celebration of Pamplona's heritage... we waded through brass bands playing & men, women and children dancing in the streets. Exhausted we ducked into the 1st hotel we saw which was very upscale but we weren't proud... hot and sweaty in our hiking gear we asked if there were any rooms available ...there was 1 left that came with a discount due to the noise in the street!.... 20 minutes later settled in our room we hear loud music below, peering out our window we enjoy seeing a joyful group of people with flags and noisemakers accompanied by their brass marching band coming up the street below our window... so much unexpected excitement!! Being really spent from our long day on the road we ordered room service....a Pamplona hamburger...&  just an aside on Spain's  cuisine...everything comes with ham and cheese on it, in it or served ala carte!...even our hamburger!

 Well all this is not exactly the "sacrificing Pilgrim way" .... with fancy hotel and room service but somewhere between knowing we couldn't handle one more minute on the road or interaction struggling with English/Spanish translation & desperate for a shower and real food...we somehow felt we had a special pilgrim dispensation! ( a pilgrims night off ! )
We may take tomorrow off for R&R ... It's Sunday you know and it's Spain's way.

We felt a little funny walking through the streets of a big city looking bedraggled with our backpacks, walking sticks and a bit of vagabondish  appearance but the sidewalks are marked with the Camino de Santiago symbol accompanied by  yellow directional arrows which keep us Pilgrims going in the right direction. People on the street see us and say Buen Camino!... One older lady said to us
"you are a blessing!" ... that was worth the days walk! Pilgrims have been passing through their city for 1200 years along this well marked Camino de Santiago. It is considered a blessing to support Pilgrims along their journey. 
That's all from this Pilgrim for now,

Well Mary has done a beautiful job of describing our experiences of the last few days!

We have concluded that the guide books we are carrying are flat out lying about the difficulty of the terrain!

They described today as an easy 5 or 6 hour stroll over relatively flat terrain!
We spent 10 hours walking ,sliding ,tripping up and down hundreds of meters of terrain on narrow gravel footpaths bordering steep drop offs ,and also beautifully shaded trails through Beech forests along river rapids(where I stepped on a snake ).

We passed through tunnels under highways and over Roman built bridges and near the end of the day find ourselves absolutely exhausted! Our occasional Cappuccino breaks in the villages we pass through are wonderful energy boosters but we can only sit for a few minutes before rigor mortis sets in everywhere below the waist and we waddle like ducks for the next mile!

Are we having fun yet?

Yes but it is a challenge and we are glad to have each other. Occasionally someone will ask about our relationship and when I explain Mary is my daughters mother in law people generally pause and the say. " And how's that going?"  We both just laugh !

Laughter has really helped us keep our perspective!

More Soon!


  1. Go grannies GO!!! You're doing great! Proud of you both. Love the the vivid updates! Enjoy your well deserved day off (if you decide to take it) and good for you for getting a nice room with room service to boot!!! Some balance to the long days is important! Keep it up!! Xo

  2. It is so great to read your account. i wish i was there! Just one comment ... don't push yourselves. Enjoy the time, and if you are tired stop early in the day, treat yourself to a day off. A day off can be as much of a journey as a 15km day. Cheers and love, Susan friend of Heidi

  3. I'm so proud of both of you. You still walking on your special shoes Mariah. It's still good wether and the people are interested I think. Still keep walking! Love Yvon