The picture above is the inside of the historic cathedral of Pamplona. Today we (the royal we) walked out of the foothills of the forests of the Pyrenees mountains and arrived in Pamplona. Earnest Hemingway wrote of the bull fights in his first novel by staying in this city, currently of about 200,000. This is the largest city we have been to, all the others are really small mountain villages. There are several “recommended stages” to walk each day. I have choosen to do a little less since my legs are still tired from going over the mountain. That means that some of “my traveling family” are now ahead of me.
I started hiking on Tuesday, so far it has been as follows:
Tuesday ~ St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles 27 k (over the big mountains)
Wednesday Roncesvalles to Bizkarretat 12
Thursday Bizkarretat to Larrasoana 15 k
Friday, Larrasoana to Pomplona 15 k
Here is a big shout out to Dr Gary who helped prepare my back for this journey.
So, allow me to share a little of the accommodations. When my eldest daughter learned of this trip she jokingly called it “Appalachian Trail Lite.” While there is nothing lite about this journey it is true that you do not take your own tent and food, but rather there are inexpensive hostels to stay in all along the route. That truly does lighten up your backpack load.
There are several kinds of hostels or “albergue” as they are called in Spanish. The “official” one is run by the municipality and is about 14 dollars a night. Accommodations get you a bunk bed in a room where others are sleeping, men and women. There is a special place for your backpack, and muddy hiking shoes are lined up somewhere near the front door. There is a bathroom where there are several shower stalls. You carry a sleeping bag or a “sheet sack” or liner that is light.
There are also privately owned albergues which are closer to 20 to 25 dollars a night and you share a room with less people. I have already stayed in both. The municipal one in Rancesvalles had 250 beds. That one had “cubbies” of four bunk beds in a long hallway. I shared that night with three Italian women. I think there are ten people in tonight’s lodging room. There is a specific quiet time to ensure everyone gets a good nights sleep. One MUST bring earplugs to block out those who snore.
Hospitality is foremost on the Camino. Each owner of the albergues has gone out of their way to help me and other weary travelers.
Tonight’s lodging is right next to the Cathedral of Saint Mary, from the Middle Ages, and I walked here! It is a beautiful, historic city of the Navarra region of northern Spain.