Asides

Cizu Menor and lost in Pamplona

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Day 6 walk to Cizu Menor

My Camino shell attached to my back pack to show that I am a pilgrim,said by goodbyes and shared best wishes to my new friends and i had plenty of hugs in return.Left the Jesus Y Mary Albergue while my new friends got ready for their next long walk. This is where my Camino ends, I do not want it to end, I want to follow the sea of humanity, but I have commitments back home. I called in the pilgrim cafe for an orange juice, coffee and toast. It was raining as I made my way to Cizu Menor. It was cold and I felt very sad. Reached Cizu Menor retraced my steps back through the Collage then asked for directions to Pamplona Train Station. I need to find overnight accommodation near the station. I will be leaving early in the morning for Barcelona.  I stopped a bus driver  who gave me directions either he was wrong or I misunderstood him because it took me two hours walking before I found the train station. No accommodation was available reason being, it was a socialist bank holiday in Spain. I stood outside a large housing estate feeling cold tired, scared and I was lost and had nowhere to stay.

I saw a young Spanish woman and asked her for directions to the old part of Pamplona. She saw my distress and showed compassion. The woman I had never met before offered to put me up for the night in her apartment. This touched me deeply and I was humbled. I thanked her for the offer but declined. She gave me directions to the old part of Pamplona. I was 10 minutes away from there but when you are lost and alone and do not speak the language you might as well be in the middle of the Gobi desert. This woman was an angel on earth, we hugged and said adios. I remember there was an Albergue called municipal Casa Paderborn, that was situated by the river. I made my way despite being cold my heart was warmed by the Spanish lady’s humanity. There was queue waiting to book in. This was where I met Antonio we got on very well he was a photographer.The albergue was German owned and the people who ran this beautiful house were all volunteers. Ursula and Franz were lovely.I shared my room with Antonio from Canada, Peter and Chris from Germany and Julie from Gloucester, England. When I was lost. I thought there was a reason why. I looked upon experiences as a teacher and what could I learn from the experience. When I met Antonio, Ben, Chris and Julie I felt very comfortable and I knew I was meant to meet these wonderful, honest people. I wished I had met them at the beginning of my pilgrim. They invited me out because it was my last night. We had a pilgrim meal at the Cafeteria Palace, where we were waited on by Julio he was amazing character. We had 7 starters and 7 main courses to choose from plus dessert, bread, water and wine all for 9,95 Euros. We all had a great time and I will always treasure the memory. We all made our way back. Teeth brushed, after much giggling, heads down,then fast asleep. Woke to a lovely breakfast after breakfast Ben from Germany took me outside and asked me to pick a stone, which I did. He then asked me why I did part of the Camino and what did I want to get rid off inside of me. I told him what I wanted to get rid off. He turned to me and said “I will place this stone for you at Santiago”. We hugged, I had several hugs that morning.Some people you forget Peter and Antonio I will remember for ever. Made my way to Pamplona train Station and my four-hour journey to Barcelona. Where I shared my train ride with a wonderful gentleman named Inaki we talked and discussed many topics and subjects. He is a climber of mountains. I am a walker of paths. He touched my mind and I liked that. We are now corresponding friends.

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Zubiri to Pamplona

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DAY FIVE 15 MILES FROM ZUBIRI TO PAMPLONA. After a good breakfast, I met with Maurice from Kerry to loan him my book on the Camino, because he had lost his in Roncesvalles. Maurice is walking all the way to Santiago, we arranged to meet up in Pamplona for a drink later that day. I set off on my own weather was damp but warm within half hour i had taken my waterproof coat off. Caught up with Amy from Australia very calm and spiritual person like me as a love of nature we chatted for a while, then i headed off at my pace. Met some Italians along the way they were wonderful company. Followed the River Arga this river goes all the way to Pamplona. It was good to hear water and to see dappled shadows i like that. Stopped at a cafe 5 miles from Pamplona my boots are not good i decide to take them off and put my walking sandals on. I know my boots have had it, but i cannot bring myself to throw them away, so i tied them to my back pack. Will take them home with me and i will plant red geraniums in them to remind me of beautiful Spain. Locals are on bikes enjoying the now warm sunshine, men were sitting on the river banks fishing. Hola i shout or buenos dias. I see the view of Pamplona in the distance among green lush trees but i have a steep climb before i reach the City of Bulls. I walk the rest of the way with Peter from Germany whose daughter shares my name. Peter is very tall and he is walking with two sticks because of a knee operation. We reach a lovely place called Casco Viejo we take photos of the Puente de la Magdalena. Pamplona is not far i walked ahead of Peter. Massive Chestnut trees kept me company, when i saw an elderly man across a busy road wave to me “Pilgrim” he called “si” i say he beckoned me to follow him and he guided me in to Pamplona this really touched my soul. Walked to the main square of the old town of Pamplona. Where i was greeted by a demonstration. It was Labour Day in Spain, a bank holiday that lasts a weekend. They know how to celebrate this socialist holiday unlike back home where most people go to BQ or the nearest garden center. Their colourful banners of their unions held high. This unity touched me because i am old Socialist. Making my way to the old Monastery “Jesus Y Mary” I got lost but found a lovely man from Canada whose name was Gerry, a gentle soul, together we found our way, to the Jesus Y Mary, where there was a long queue waiting to book in. What was wonderful about the queue was that i knew most of the people in the queue. We greeted each other i felt emotional i smiled and wiped a stray tear. The Jesus Y Mary was large and clean and had all the facility’s you need showers, laundry room, kitchen internet, most of all companionship we are comrades on the Camino. Gerry from Canada asked did i have any laundry, this surprised me because i had only just met him he offered this act of kindness that i could not refuse, i bought him a coffee in return. Humanity on the Camino always amazed me. Kelly from Canada had the bunk above me, the Italian couple who i met four days ago had the bunk opposite me. The Italian couple and i could not speak each others language but eyes and hand gestures spoke volumes. Went out that evening with Maurice and Dave from Dublin. We found an Irish bar in Pamplona called O’Connell’s. We walked back to our abode up early tomorrow.

camino 3rd day

Image                                                                                                                       DAY 4 Roncesvalles to Zubiri 17 miles. Leaving the Pyrenees behind, and the wonderful Monastery where they played guitar’s and sang to us at 6am it was wonderful. Walking to Zubiri with Talia for company, her mam Miriam was catching us up later. It was raining and i felt stiff also hungry, no food at the Monastery left without breakfast, only herbal tea inside me. This is something i never do back home i always eat breakfast. This part of the Camino was flat, walking through villages met Amy from Australia who was walking with two sticks due to a spinal operation. A wonderful spiritual person met Amy many times along the Camino. Talia and i stopped at a local cafe for coffee and breakfast which tasted lovely. 4 miles in i left Talia with her mam never saw them again but they were great company. My deformed toe on my left foot was hurting, i stopped on a grass verge for drink with My French friends and Maurice from Kerry Ireland. Took off my boots and socks wiped and readjusted my sock and boot

My feet were fine but my boots were not unbeknown to me my waterproof trousers were hanging over my boots and allowing the water to drip on to them despite me using protection when i left Wales. My boots were rotting. Hey they took me to the Donegal and Antrim coast in the August and many other walks since so i had my wear from them. This part of the Camino was not strenuous but it had long winding, twisting, paths mostly gravel. the scenery was lush green the house’s looked like Swiss chalets. The path was a good teacher to me it taught me many things most of all happiness is having a peaceful mind. I walked the last 4 mile with Kerry from Canada and Seamus from Ireland. Kerry was a strong beautiful caring woman who like me was travelling alone. Seamus i met at the Monastery in Roncesvalles.We met some young French men who were impressed by my walking. I am naturally a fast walker despite looking like a Bavarian farmers wife i can walk 3 to 4 miles an hour. I impressed the French men even further by telling them when i was 19 years of age i refused the French rugby captain Jean Pierre Reeve a date. Yes i did and i do not regret it, we laughed at this. Eric the tall Frenchman communicated with me through the translation on his phone this really touched me and the espresso he bought me too. We arrived in Zubiri tired and hungry. Kelly, Seamus and i stopped in a local cafe where we had food together. They left to walk on to Larrossa, i had booked a bedroom en suite at the El Palo de Avellano. Well run and comfortable hotel come hostel, I had a room of my own, which smelt of beeswax the furniture was old and original with wooden floor boards Showered and changed i opened the sky light window and fell asleep. to be woken by church bells yes church bells that rang on the hour and the half hour. Went down for the pilgrim meal. The pilgrim meal is a three course meal, normally soup, main course either chicken, or fish with vegetables followed by a desert, yogurt, cake, or fruit. The company was very good Americans Germans, Irish, Italians and French. I was full and ready for Gelli (Welsh for bed). Once in bed i went out like a light but was woken on the hour by church bells so my idea of booking a room with en suite and having goodnight sleep did not materialise.

Walking alone taking the word conversation with me.

Walked alone to my favorite place Gelligaer Common with the subject, the art of conversation and is it a dying art. Weather was windy but clear liken to a bare beach in winter time. New born lambs bleating for their mams, gold finches sing their liquid tune. Hawthorn flower peeping out will soon be in bloom. Conversation talk, say, express, share with others. Is it really a conversation if it is a text, FB message or  an email. There is nothing i like better there sitting down with a glass of wine sharing  food and a good conversation. As i walked through my meadow i can see Pen Y Fan it is so clear i could reach out and touch it. Yet it is over 20 odd miles away. Do things always look good from a distance just like scyping, typing your conversation. Not only is talking good face to face so is listening. I can hear a bird of prey way above me and the wild ponies munching away on the corse common grass. pheasent darts out from nowhere which startled me. Sun spreads light and shade it warms my back. It is good to talk, not gossip but a debate a two way thing However, i believe we should listen to our inner voice and what is it telling us. On my way back home i hear children playing football in the distance i like to hear happiness.