13 May: Pamplona

The day we’d all been waiting for finally arrived. 5:45 and the lights came on in the albergue. The rustling a of over 100 pilgrims all getting ready can only be ignored for so long, and it was still very early when the messages started flowing back and forth between Pamplona, Madrid, Bangalore and Auckland!
The countdown was down to hours.
We filled the morning with housekeeping tasks (finding a button and affixing it so Micaiah can stop using a plastic bag as a belt, finding a supermarket and purchasing provisions for the next 24 hours, finding accommodation for the night) and arrived at the train station with over an hour to spare.
We thought back to our own train trip here just two weeks ago; it was a kaleidescope of images: poppies, bright red * a dozen storks perched on one building alone * private gardens enclosed in stone walls contrasting with sprawling fields without fences * irrigated green * cumulus clouds hanging low * stone buildings clustered in villages, each with its own church * castles on hills * wind turbines poked into ridges like candles in a cake, blades turning like hands on a clock, keeping time as regularly as a metronome * dirt coloured from light cream to dark ochre * enormous flat areas suddenly rising with steep cliffs * figs, grapes and peaches; oaks, willows and poplars * a quarry making a mountainside disappear * plastic tunnel houses * scraggly greyish olive-ish bushes clinging to rocks * fields shining bright yellow * a Roman(?) aqueduct seemingly going from nowhere to nowhere carried on massive arches towering high above the ground *

In three hours a train can cover such an expanse! You can go from 30*C to less than half that. You can pass through landscapes that take days on foot (in fact, after a week in the mountains Micaiah mentioned, “I didn’t realise the mountains were so big. They look so small on a map!”)
Strange though it may seem, we found ourselves hurrying as we walked yesterday. It was almost as if the family would arrive sooner if we got to Pamplona faster!
And now they are minutes away!!

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Being in Pamplona we, of course, had to go and run with the bulls.
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Destination: Pamplona
Distance: just wandering
Cumulative Total: 300km
700km to go
Weather: 14*C, very windy
Dinner: lettuce, beetroot, olives, tomatoes, potato salad, salami and brie with mini bread sticks…and the special chocolate we bought at Irurita a couple of mountains back!

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