Peregrinos wake and head out very early in the morning. So be the Camino way. These untimely departures would be my small nemesis for the pilgrimage. Why the scramble? Another overcast day emerged, but still too early to indicate the day’s true forecast.
I caught up with the Polish woman. She was focused on her day-to-day destination, as her return ticket home was set. She was going to bypass Pamplona. Many stop for the night in Pamplona due to it’s historical background, great nightlife, and annual ‘Run of the Bulls’. Hemmingway hung out here and wrote, ‘The Sun Also Rises.’ Ample memorabilia can be found throughout the town commemorating these infamous events.
I decided to spend a few hours and then move onward like my Polish bunkmate. The town seemed loud and busy compared to the peaceful countryside passed. While meandering around I bumped into two of my Pyrenees Pass ‘Core Four’ mates, Eagle Scout and Lovely Interpreter. Breakfast was taken at a Hemingway locale. We sat and watched the ubiquitous backpacks with dangling Camino shells pass by as Peregrinos explored the city. Walking sticks clicked loudly in synchronous rhythm on the old cobblestone streets. Post a leisurely walk through town with my mates, I set out.
Just beyond the outskirts of Pamplona was an albergue run by the Knights of St. John of Malta, in Rio Sadar. Many hostels are run by volunteers whose loyal servitude to the passing Pilgrims keeps these accommodations open. The Hospitalero at this quaint hostel shared the adventure of his individualized credentialed Pilgrim route from Brittany, France all the way to Alexandria, Egypt. He returned to Alexandria on a later trip walked across Northern Africa, boated across the Straits of Gibraltar and then joined another Camino route, winding up in Santiago. A travel book is planned sometime in the future. He humbly shared his well-worn credentialed pilgrim passport for this journey. It was battered and marked with drawings, signatures and stamps collected en route. Many Europeans also break up their Camino walk into annual segments until completed due to time, money, Camino proximity and other factors. The final 100 Camino kilometers are the crucial ones to obtain the coveted Compostela (certificate of completion).
Dinner transformed into a communal event with the sharing of food to make a simple, yet delicious meal. A Russian duo whipped up crepes and passed a plate around. I met up with the other kind-hearted Four Core mate here. Seems she also wanted to avoid the Pamplona masses. The night ended with a concert by a Scottish man toting his guitar, in the adjacent church with outstanding acoustics.
Outside of feeling the weight of my pack, the Camino barely felt like a hardship, with good food, concert and company. Even while considering my 80 or so bunkmates that sonorous night.