Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Pamplona. Tuesday May 18! It is finished!
After Zubiri I walked past a huge manganese factory for nearly half an hour. Very ugly. But very pretty villages once beyond that. There are many more pilgrims on the trail here than in France, and people from many different countries. I met a couple from Vancouver, a man from Australia, a woman from Sweden with two companions for Norway, and many people from Spain and France as well. I met up with Anja from the Netherlands again on the trail yesterday morning and again yesterday evening.
I spent last night in the Maria y Jesus Albergue in a huge old church, up on the second level under domes and arches with a big IHS above my bed. It was quite nice for such a huge place, but people were up and down and walking past my bed all night it seemed, well, at least whenever I awoke.
The most exciting event yesterday was meeting up with Steven and Lisa again! Lisa had walked 40 km yesterday from Roncesvalles, leaving the Abbey there about 5:30 a.m. in the dark, running through the woods.
Steven had stopped along the way in between, having his own room in comfort while I was sharing the room with 39 others in Zubiri, thinking Lisa and Steven would be proud of me for living like a real pilgrim -- I was always the one hoping for a more comfortable place and willing to spend a bit more to have it.
When I got back from a frustrating, but ultimately successful day of running around here in Pamplona, often lost, there was first an encounter with Mark from Vancouver that Steven had arrived at Jesus y Maria, and then I found a note on my bed from Lisa. I rushed to the Castillo Plaza where they were meeting, but I was already more than half an hour late, and could find no one to try to text or call them for me. I wandered around the plaza several times, then walked the nearby streets, peeking into doorways and windows. At last, I spied Steven´s feet and recognized his sandals and blisters! So, I joined them and two other walkers in this little tapas place, where we ate well and went through two bottles of red wine. Lisa was very tired, as was to be expected, but it was so good to see them both again. We met again for breakfast this morning, as they were going to have an easy day today of only a little over 20 km, so we said good-bye again, and I have returned to life as a tourist now, and pilgrim no more.
I was tempted to cancel my hote reservation for tonight and go to the bus for San Sebastian, but I really have not seen much of Pamplona. I have 1 hour of free internet at the biblioteca today, where I also spent some time yesterday. So, as for the other activities yesterday. I went to the biblioteca because by the time I was checked into the albergue it was 2 p.m. and everything closes in Spain from 2 until at least 4 or 5 p.m. I tried booking a train from San Sebastian to Barcelona, but could not tell if I had done so or not or whether my Visa card was charged.
Next I went to the bus station to find out about buses to San Sebastian, but got lost and went long way around. I did get bus schedules, and then stopped in El Corte Ingles (nice department store) which was open during siesta and bought some chocolate. Then to the train office where they said the only way to find out if I had bought a ticket or not, and if I had I wasn´t sure if it was the right one was to take the bus to the train station, which was on the edge of the city. I got wrong information twice about where to take the bus, and wrong information about the cost (1 euro and 10 cents each way), and got to the train station finally where the man at the counter spoke no English and had no idea what I was talking about. A nice young many offered to help me, and I was able to put my Visa card in the machina and find out I had no reservation, which was good. The young many went back to the man in the ticket window with me and helped me get information about the schedules of trains (most of which I had from the internet) from the man who really looked as though he just hoped I would disappear. Then back by bus and to the tourist office where I got a list of rooms in 1 star hotels nearby. I looked at one where they only had a suite for 60 € and then found another with bath and window on the street for 25€, which is where I will be tonight
My hour is nearly up, so I will finish. Soon pilgrims will be trickling into town for the night. I will go and watch them arrive, and maybe find someone to talk to. I got to San Sebasatian tomorrow by bus, then to Barcelona on the 8 a.m. train on Thursday, where I have a room reserved since before I left home, and then I fly home on Saturday, via Atlanta, so I hope there will be no volcanic cloud to keep the plane from flying.
I cannot believe my adventure (this part) is really over.