Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that this summer, I spent 9 days walking around 180km along the Camino de Santiago, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Logroño in Spain. I wrote a Q&A post in response to some of the questions people had asked me along the way already but had so many people ask me if I was going to blog about the entire experience that I’ve decided to make this a nine part series over the next 3 months or so. Noone wants to read a recap featuring 100s of photos and 1000s of words and I feel like this might be more helpful for people who are looking for information about the specific stages. This is Part 4 (Parts 1, 2 and 3 linked at the end of this post).
Camino Frances Day 4: Zubiri to Pamplona (approx 24km)
Day 4 huh? I think we both felt a big sense of accomplishment as we set out. I mean, we were going to walk to Pamplona. How cool is that? That is, in fact, consistently one of the things that comes back to me as something I enjoyed on this trip. To get up in the morning and have ONE JOB to do (i.e. walk from point A to point B) was pretty freeing (if sometimes a challenge). And to arrive ON FOOT in a big city? SO. COOL.
Though the distance today was longer than any of the previous days, we were happy to see that the elevation was fairly consistent, in fact it dropped towards the end of the day (and not dramatically like it did entering Zubiri). John Brierley’s “A Pligrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago” told us that this was a fairly “tranquil” morning’s walk along the river Agra but that the afternoon started to get a little busier as we entered the “hustle and bustle” of the city of Pamplona. I think we were both so excited to be going to Pamplona that we didn’t really pay a lot of attention to the book (i.e. not noting that there was really not much in terms of services until well into the day and then again much later in the day – these things are important to know!) – and to be honest, we were both so tired in Zubiri that we didn’t research the tiny towns we would be passing through the next day either.
It was a nice day for a walk…
The path was definitely much more crowded today and we started to see the same pack of people who we had seen in Zubiri the night before…
With just a short stop for a drink/ coffee/ some snacks in Zuriain (at Café La Parada) – some 9+ km into the day… We were excited to read about a wood-fired pizza oven restaurant in Irotz (Horno Irotz) and had decided that our “no stopping for meals” rule would have to be broken that day. Sadly we arrived and it was inexplicably closed. And I needed the washroom. So it was a grumpy afternoon of walking that day. So much so that I have no photos (it was really hot and we were both just really focussed on getting to the next town abut 4km away, Trinidad de Arre.
When we did, we were rewarded with some pretty views and a cold drink. And a washroom.
But soon we started to see the Camino bike waymarkers again…
The last 5km of the day was a little challenging, not because it was difficult terrain (major roads or asphalt) but because it was a city. We’d been accustomed to wandering, not paying attention to traffic lights and road rules! Just when we thought we were hopelessly lost, we saw this:
If you ever arrive in Pamplona on foot, know that it is up a hill to get to the city.
At that point, we were sitting in the gorgeous Hotel Pamplona Catedral drinking a beer that we found in our mini bar (such luxury!) and might very well have stayed put. But no! There was tapas to be had… And gorgeous architecture to look at! Out we went…
We were so tired by the time we’d wandered around a bit that we wanted a place to enjoy some tapas whilst sitting. I’d done some research to find Bodegón Sarria where we found a bottle of wine and a table. And table service (maybe just for tired pilgrims?)
After that, we felt it necessary to finish the night on a sweet note:
This was not such a difficult day, though I would have made sure to plan my snacks better (i.e. more of them) and get a better map for heading into the city in Pamplona. It was hot so I might recommend leaving earlier than what had become our regular hour of 8am – even an hour later would have helped in terms of how hot was when we were at our most tired. My big takeaway from this is that I would have booked a extra day in Pamplona to really see the city properly. As we were leaving the next day, I couldn’t help but think how much we DIDN’T see, simply because we were so tired and arrived so late.
Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for the next instalment – Pamplona to Puente la Reina. Featuring more sun, windmills and very sore feet.
Disclosure: I researched Camino trips independently and chose the Camino Travel Center based on a number of features such as flexibility to accommodate a couple of “splits” in some of the longer days, price and customer service. They were, in fact the first company I came across in my very first Google search and the one I ended up booking with. From the initial inquiry to the actual trip, they were a pleasure to deal with and we were very impressed with the service provided (bag transportation) and the accommodation choices. I was not compensated to write about this trip in any way but I love sharing companies and products I believe in with my readers. I couldn’t recommend the Camino Travel Center more and, in fact, am looking at booking another Camino walk with them in the future.
Please note: This post contains product links from Amazon which are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Read more about the Camino de Santiago:
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – questions and answers
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 1: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Valcarlos
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 2: Valcarlos to Roncesvalles
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 4: Zubiri to Pamplona
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 5: Pamplona to Puente la Reina
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 6: Puente la Reina to Estella
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 7: Estella to Los Arcos
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 8: Los Arcos to Viana
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 9: Viana to Logroño