Once again we were blessed with perfect walking weather as we continued across the Basque countyside.
We arrived at Zabaldika, a 12th century church 1/2 hour before it closed for the afternoon. As soon as I crossed the threshold of this unpretentious chapel I began crying. What is it was that tugged at my soul? I have no explanation. The sisters of the Society of Sacred Heart provided a warm welcome, communal dinner & breakfast, as well as a very moving prayer gathering and Pilgrims Blessing following dinner.
Our walk to Pamplona was uneventful with the scenery gradually changing to urban. No sooner had we checked in to our albergue than I spotted my Irish friend, Tim, who had just arrived. His job back in Ireland fell through so he returned to Lourdes and began walking. He joined us for lunch and recounted how he managed to catch up with us. Basically, he walked too hard and too far each day, which resulted in his making great time. But, at a price. He now could barely walk and needs a few days to rest.
We enjoyed the balance of the day as tourists, walking the Old Town, and visiting the cathedral.
We feasted at the Cafe Iruna, a favorite haunt of Hemingway’s when he was in town. We ate from the Pilgrims menu and I felt like Yost from the movie The Way as I dug into the best lamb ever! And a bargain too, 3 courses including a bottle of wine or water for 15 euros.
The visit to Pamplona was wonderful, however, looming in the background was the understanding that we would soon part company. Mieke and An would be walking east in the morning to return to Roncesvalles to volunteer for 2 weeks, and I would continue west to Santiago. I have been blessed to have these two Dutch angels come into my life in order to introduce me to the Camino. I learned a great deal and can’t remember when I laughed so much.
Just to prove life will be more difficult without them I discovered that I accidentally turned on an old email account and used up all my data plan. I now have to wait for the phone company office to open at 10:00 to recharge my account. Such is life on the Camino👣👣👣👣