Day 4: Living in the Present

we got a late start this morning, wandering through the town to the local bar and small store for some fresh fruit, granola bars…and Kat’s espresso, of course. We soon met up with Gilbert, a lovely Frenchman who could traced his family back to the 15th century in France. His other language was Italian, so Kat enjoyed chatting with him about human rights issues as we passed through rolling hills and charming villages, such as Larrasoana, which dates back to the twelfth century. It had about three buildings.


The landscape changed from tree covered rocky paths with waterfalls to the side of a highway with carful of Spainards wearing their red and white on their way to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls, where we were also headed..on foot.


We parted ways with Gilbert when we got to Trinidad de Arre, as that was the only place with an available room – Pamplona was booked. Arre, founded in the 1100s, was charming and we stopped for a snack of Coca-Colas – why do they taste better outside the U.S.? – corn nuts and Dulce de Leche wafers. Couldn’t have been better.


We strolled slowly until we came up to the fortress wall of Pamplona. People in head to toe white with red scarves were everywhere, eating, singing, enjoying. The nine day festival was nearing the end.


We were lucky that Kat’s friend was letting us stay at her apartment for a two night rest and to experience the festivities. As we waited for N to pick us up at the cathedral, partying Spainards shouted, Buen Camino! We sort of stuck out with our packs. A drunk partyer slept on the ground and a group of spirited men all surrounded him for a photo op. Can you tell which one?


A delicious lunch of a bocadillo with tortiila de patata, a fluffy potato omelet.


The Spainards know how to have fun. N showered us with care, and we couldn’t feel more at home. After showers and rest, we borrowed white shirts and bought red scarves, feeling all official. At nine, we left to meet N’s friend, ND, who lived right on the main strip with her novio, a Spanish soccer player. This vantage point allowed us to watch the spectacular fireworks from the balcony.


We then wandered through the throngs. It was incredible how busy it was. Old people, young people, babies, all just enjoying life. It was a far cry from the quiet busyness of the Camino, but the camaraderie was similar – folks were present in the moment and celebrating life.

We got to loosen up and dance a bit, sore calves and all. By one, the parties were just getting started, but the 20+km were catching up to us and we retired for the night.

With a bit of attention from the handsome Spanish men, albeit some were drunk and we weren’t covered in sweat and wearing 18 lb packs, it was good to know that at our age, we still got it.