Day 3 – Zubiri to Pamplona

The guide book says this walk is 13 miles, but it seemed far longer…my Fitbit suggested 15 miles. No matter, today was the first sunshine I’ve had on the Camino. The warm sun and cool air made for a good day of walking.

Pilgrims in general seemed to be in good spirits and I met a number of folks including a nice lady from South Africa who was petting the Appaloosa ponies as I walked by. We noticed that the paddock contained only pregnant mares and their little foals. Also met a group of young people from Denmark on their way to Santiago de Compostela, and Roger from Brazil who steered me back on the trail when I wondered off course in the fog of mile 14. Finally, I met my first American on the trail…a young guy between jobs with only time to go as far as Burgos. That made me realize that walking the entire Camino is not really consistent with the American way…a person from the US with the means/interest to walk the Camino would probably not have the time due to career constraints. One more addition to my Day 2 blog comments about pilgrim diversity…I saw my first 4 legged pilgrim. An Irish setter was walking ahead of me with 2 human pilgrims. Hope I will have a chance to meet him/her in the coming days. 😉

I am still walking through Basque Country, or the “Kingdom of Navarra”. The Basques are a very independent-minded people even resorting to violence over the years in an attempt to secure their independence from Spain and France. There are frequent reminders that this separatist mindset still prevails; I’ve included a picture of the tamest of these reminders.

My destination for today, Pamplona, is a fairly large town best know for the Feast of San Fermin in which (drunken?) locals run with and away from a charging group of angry bulls. My knowledge of San Fermin is sketchy, but I am planning to attend mass at the Chapel of San Fermin shortly which is just a block from my hotel…perhaps I’ll learn more.

One more note about the area surrounding Pamplona which should be of interest to fellow Xavier graduates. The Jesuit order was co-founded by Ignatius of Loyola who was inspired while recovering from wounds suffered at the Battle of Pamplona. His co-founding partner was Francis of Javier (Xavier). Both were Basques from the area.

Tomorrow I’m off to the small village of Puente la Reina (Queen’s Bridge).

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