Just a short six hour drive and we are in Pamplona. Instead of taking a train, Jeff drove me. Tomorrow is a bus to St Jean to the other side if the Pyrenees and France.
The drive was uneventful. We drove the Autovia de Camino De Santiago from Astorga to Burgos. Then up the A1 to Pamplona. I could see Peregrinos from near Leon to close to Fromista. The trees the Junta de Castilla y Leon have planted to provide some shade on the path in The Meseta have grown larger in four years.
It felt weird to drive it. Last time I would look at passing cars on a miserably hot day and think ‘Why am I out here instead of in a car with AC?’
It felt like an inordinately long drive. The walk from Burgos to Leon is 6-8 days. As the thermostat in the car began to climb from a Galician 10 degrees to a Castilla y Leon 27. but its better than when Emilie and I walked it in the 30’s. We had to get up at 4am to try to beat the sun and to get in as many kilometers as we could with headlamps before that happened.
The turn north at Burgos had the landscape transforming from rolling wheat fields dried brown by the intense sun, to craggy granite mountains covered in green the closer we got to Pamplona.
Entering the city in a car was as confusing as it was on foot the last time. Crazy. Emilie and I walked an additional 12 kms when a not very nice person told us if we wanted to walk the real route we would go the way he was directing us. We arrived in Pamplona ready to collapse.
This time, I was at the wheel and Jeff was navigating. He loathes entering old castles or walled towns through narrow porticos and draw bridged. I love them.
We walked around a bit in search of food. I found the Albergue where Emilie and I stayed. If I had a nonsensical dream that bed shortages for 2021 might just occur from Sarria to Santiago, I was swiftly disavowed of this notion. Even the huge Albergue Jesus y Maria was already full by 3pm. This is not a normal year.
We strolled about the town in search of food. Luckily, unlike in so much of Spain, in Pamplona Pilgrims can get food all day long. I thought of my Mom as we ate yummy Mexican burritos. Last time I was here in Pamplona when she asked me how I liked the food. ‘It’s like Mexican food, right?’ I had to explain how Spanish food and Mexican food couldn’t be further apart. But today, here we were eating Mexican food in Pamplona.
Thank goodness, we are back in the AC at our hotel. Jeff only has so much Pilgrim in him. After he leaves, it’s Albergues or a tent for me. Kickin’ it Pilgrim old school, Tomorrow at two pm will find me on a bus to St Jean. Excited and a bit nervous. But I’ve done it before. I can do it again.