Day 5 (May 14) Pamplona to Urtega

We spent the early morning checking out Pamplona. Did a quick pass by the bull ring. Not much to see without the bulls in action. Then we joined a mass at the Catedral Santa Maria, where we took the time to reflect and pray. Lots to pray for in this world.

Afterward, we moved on to the Plaza de Castilla and the Cafe Iruna, where Hemingway held court while working on The Sun Also Rises. I could just see him, sitting at the bar with a whiskey, smoking, and arguing about life, love and death.

We hit the trail in good spirits and under sunny skies. Our goal for today was to slow John’s pace to keep his inflamed calf from developing into disabling tendinitis. I tried taking the lead. That worked for a while, but not completely, as he loves a race, even if it is against himself. Note today’s photo, John looking good with the sticks.

We stopped for lunch at a cafe in a mountain village where we met a young Canadian woman named Rebecca. We shared our lunch with her as she told us her story. I asked her if she walked fast on the trail. She answered, “not any more!”, then went on to explain about tendonitis that had sent her to the hospital in Pamplona. They told her that she had to take 5 days off for recovery. The cause of her injury, she explained, was walking too fast on the downhill sections of the Pyrenees. Hmm…I think I know someone else who did that. My technique involved supporting my weight with walking sticks and zigzagging all the way down. A very tedious process. John took the direct route, which cost him. Today, we were very careful and slow, reducing our travel to 10 miles in 5.5 hours. It was 4 hours of straight uphill, then 1.5 down, but it was a beautiful walk through brilliant fields of waving wheat. We marveled over the great swaths of unspoiled countryside.

The route peaked at the Alto de Perdon, the Mountain of Forgiveness. I was happy to see a whole mountain of it and planned to carve off a small sliver of forgiveness for myself. On this trip I hope to leave behind my own guilt for Sam’s pain and his tragic end. At this inspiring viewpoint with its iron sculpture of pilgrims, it does seem possible. Dinner was at our albergue, a hostel, but with a private room. Neither of us could face a room full of snoring strangers tonight.

We shared a table with a lively group of German ladies, who unanimously told us that the best city in Germany to visit was Hamburg. Who knew? Guess we need to put that on the list.

12 thoughts on “Day 5 (May 14) Pamplona to Urtega

  1. Your blogs are terrific; thank you!

  2. Sally Spilman May 14, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Each post is more engaging then the last…you both are amazing.

  3. We are all with you every step- while sitting on our buts 🙂

  4. Patty McGuigan May 15, 2018 at 12:15 am

    I love following your “ trek” … please be careful John with your inflamed calf … me speaking out ( the “Queen of injuries “) !! Zig and Zag sounds the best ! Love your pics – amazing scenery … Carry on !!! Always in our thoughts … you both so strong and we all root for you ❤️

  5. Truly inspirational, hoping John continues to hold up ok, thinking of you on this amazing adventure xo

  6. Carol and Greg May 15, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    If you can get a tube or jar of Active 21
    It works amazingly well on injuries
    Hang in there – slow and steady…
    Love your blog and pictures!

  7. Keep on trekking. Love your blog.

  8. Trish

    You must have been a writer in a past life.



  9. You are a natural writer and I hang on every word! Hope John is better…can’t wait to hear what came after Pamplona!

  10. Doreen Hansen May 15, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Trish – we haven’t met but I am familiar with the route to Santiago. As a member of UK Confraternity of St James (CSJ) since 1986, I’ve explored the length of the camino from several different starting points, but never walked the long distances you are now taking on. CSJ supports a refugio in Rabanal, west of Astorga. At this time of year the sun can be deceptively hot, so do allow sufficient rest days during your walk. I shall enjoy following your blog, my granddaughter is a post-graduate at CU (Boulder) and it was in the CU news email today (15th May) where I read about your very special pilgrimage.
    With best wishes – Doreen (Gloucestershire, England)

  11. Stephen Zoeller May 16, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Trish, thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as the sights. It makes for an engaging and rewarding read for us that are following your journey.

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