3 , 2002
|Puente del Magdalena|
|I kept going up and up. I asked
myself, "If the route goes down the valley, why does it seem like
I'm always going up?" I think that it was because I noticed the upgrade
so much more that the downgrade. In many places the camino was a goat
path, literally. At one point I was about 90 feet above the river on a
path that was only 18 inches wide. In many places there was no railing,
only a slope straight down. I was glad for my stick to keep my balance.
|Along the edge|
|Reached Villava (pronounced Bee
yah bah) at 1:00. Found a bank just in time (they close from 1:30 to 4:00
p.m.) and was able to draw out some euros so I could have some lunch.
As I walked around the town, I noticed temporary wooden walls and barriers
along the thoroughfare. Although I thought I knew the reason, I asked
two women anyway. ¿Por favor, porque las muras?" (Please,
why the walls)
"Los toros." was the reply. They went on to explain that there was going to be a big fiesta this weekend with bullfights and also an international bicycle race.
At 2:00 p.m. I went to get lunch. Found a nice little bar where they gave me a table in the corner where I could lean my mochila (backpack) against the wall. Went to the servicios (w.c.s) to clean up. While I was sitting there in the restroom, I kept hearing an annoying buzz. Suddenly the buzzing stopped. And the lights went out! I was in total darkness and in a panic. Here I was all alone in a strange bathroom, in a strange restaurant, in a strange city. What would I do? Then I saw a dim red light on the wall. I reached out and felt a switch, pushed it and learned an important lesson. Lights in Spain are on timers; if you dally, they will go out.
After lunch, started to walk again — wanted to reach the albergue in Pamplona before dark. The walk was nice and easy through the outskirts of Pamplona. The way was nice and flat and I felt good. But I knew what was to come. Pamplona, like most major cities in Spain, is a medieval fortress high on a hill commanding the view of the river.
I passed over the Puente de Magdalena which is the pilgrims approach to Pamplona. Just beyond the bridge, I was overtaken by a French pilgrim who asked me where the big door to the city was. I pointed in the direction and said alli (there) he thanked me and went on. I stopped to look at the towering walls surrounding the city and thought how reassuring it must have been for pilgrims who had survived the mountain walk to reach another safe haven. As I climbed higher, I saw the portal gate to the city. And sitting there was my recent acquaintance. I told him that if I sat down I would never be able to get up again. He said that he was waiting for a companion.
|Ancient portal to City of Pamplona|
I slowly made my way through the old part of the city,
following the yellow arrows. Just then, I saw the two German women that
I had met at breakfast. They were with a third German woman and together
they were sightseeing. They showed me the way to the Pamplona albergue.