I don’t know what time it is, but it’s early, people are rustling bags and flashing torches. What’s wrong with them… By the time I’m annoyed enough to get up, almost everyone else is up and nearly packed. My turn to annoy people, I go out, I come back in turning the lights on in the process. I repeat my trip to the washroom and back maybe half a dozen times. I don’t need to of course, but every time I do, people have to move. Yeah yeah I know, childish! But screw it, I’m not always a morning person.
I pack and leave whilst many are eating breakfast or finishing packing. It’s still dark out, but not for long. The walking this morning is leisurely, along the river Arga. The path occasionally detours through a village or hamlet away from the river, but then it rejoins it, crosses it on ancient bridges from side to side.
As I approach one of the bridges I come across a red squirrel, it’s been years since I’ve seen one. (We used to get them in the garden in the lakes, but that was many years ago). As I cross the same bridge I watch small fish jumping clean out of the pools below and a dipper cleaning itself in the shallow rapids. (When I say cleaning it was more like swimming, I’ve never seen a dipper do that before)?!
The route then crosses a main road before climbing up rocky terrain. Towns in the distance make me think I can’t be far from Pamplona. Soon enough I enter what are Pamplona’s suburbs. It’s still early and being a Sunday the streets are fairly quiet. As I get closer, the cathedral shows itself. I pass over the old pilgrims bridge and follow my signs around the high walls to an opening between the inner & outer walls of Pamplona’s old defences. It’s grand, stunning, magnificent. People pass me and wish me ‘buen camino’. As I enter the old part of the town, I’m blown away by the character, the small streets with buildings either side looming down on me, but with bright colours and pretty balconies and shutters.
It’s not even 10am…. (and yes I’ve walked about 17km).
I find the tourist office, I’m given directions to my hotel, possible shoe shops for tomorrow and free sights of interest. I make my way to the hotel to dump my gear. I then wander the streets, preparing myself for tomorrow by visiting every point the lady put on my map. After that I sit in a cafe drinking coffee.
2pm I check into my hotel. The Maisonnave is a 3* hotel, but I have to say it’s better than some 4* & 5* hotels I’ve had the displeasure of staying in! I head back out for more wandering. (I’m beginning to think I just can’t sit still…)?!
Back at the hotel, I shower (excessively), I eat (badly), I lounge (in a towel), I sleep (soundly & in luxury)…