Day 39 - Pamplona
This was our rainiest day by far. We were surprised to see rain in the morning because it was forecast for later in the day. We put on our parkas and assumed we would take them off soon. Well that was not to be! We had to wear them the whole day! There were lightning and thunder and torrents of rain off and on throughout the morning. The trail was a rushing river at times and muddy puddles the rest. I take back everything I said about the improvement of Spanish trails. We basically hiked by ourselves, though we played leap frog with a few Korean parties.
A highlight of the morning was a small church on a hillside. It was a twelfth century church with some wonderful volunteers that gave us information to read in English. We climbed the stone staircase to the bell tower and wrong the 11th century bell. Back on the trail it was another downpour and river rafting in shoes. As we approached the outskirts of Pamplona, it was obvious we were in a modern European city. We felt completely awkward with our rain parkas waiting at stop lights with business suits and dresses.
The old city of Pamplona is a major tourist destination. Think bull running and Ernest Hemmingway. The narrow streets hum with tourists, locals and Camino pilgrims. We checked into a hotel and paid for two nights. It is time for rest day number 2.
After drying off and resting we wandered the streets and and got oriented to the city. We were quickly able to find the supplies we needed. We thought that we would lose the pilgrim population in the city crowds, but we kept running into them. As we were eating dinner at a street cafe, the two couples at the adjacent table were pilgrims from Australia. The wives were both elementary principals on leave, so you can imagine how long that conversation lasted. The cafe was relieved when we finally gave up our tables.
No earplugs tonight in our private room.