If it ain’t Dutch it ain’t much – Zubiri to Pamplona

Another 10 hour day – this time the slow going was thanks to San Fermin, getting lost twice and booking an accommodation 3k from the centre. About 28k today thanks to detours but the distance could have been covered a lot quicker had Pamplona not been jammed for San Fermin.

In happier news I got to spend some more time with my fellow pilgrims having dinner last night with some older American chaps who were surprisingly racy for mature pilgrims (!) and lunch today with some Danish ladies.

When you’re walking the camino at the same time as others faces become familiar and it’s interesting to note the groups that form. There’s a large contingent of Koreans on camino, they tend to stay with one another but are well mannered and kindly. Then the French and Spanish are here with their families so they’re not up for it. Then there’s the rest, I belong in ‘rest’ but seem to attract the Yanks and Lowlanders.

There’s a popular pastime on camino; ‘Guess the nationality’ – you look for little clues from a pilgrims gear, manner or just plain racial stereotyping. Ive been pegged as Dutch by a few pilgrims. They seem genuinely surprised that I could possibly be English.

Anyway, the walk!

Outside Zubiri is a large industrial building and the first eyesore of the camino.

However, once past the walk winds through some beautiful countryside, with horses, sandwich patches and a super bar at Zabaldika offering a range of tortilla, fresh orange juice & coffee.


The climb up to and swing round the hills of Pamplona are filled with chancers begging or trying to sell pilgrims tat at ridiculous prices. I would not recommend walking the section from Miravalles right until Cizur Menor alone, stay amongst other pilgrims.

Arriving into Pamplona was thrilling, but then, it pissed me off. Just to be back in a city with people and life was great. I soon got tired of that feeling and got caught up in processions and drunks in the mid afternoon revery of San Fermin. In fact as the afternoon wore on I got steadily more grumpy and fed up of the red and white party goers and was glad to get out of the city centre. It’s 30 degrees, ive just walked 25k, get out of my way you drunken, bull fancying buffoons!


Pamplona stole my serenity! I was being such a good pilgrim until Pamplona. Goes to show how easy it is to be at one and spiritual in nature and how easily that is lost when faced with city morons. I mean really, who could possibly eat that much cheese!

My hotel is 3k from the centre and off the camino path. Im staying in a university campus halls of residence that is empty in summer. After wanting to be alone for this trip I have to say, now that I am alone after some nights with other pilgrims, I prefer the comradery of the Alberges!

Being on camino is such a social experience. You’re forever passing and being over taken by the same people, then you’re in the same bedroom hours later and see them again for lunch the next day. Im really surprised at myself for liking that! But I do.

Today I’m exhausted. The way I feel right now, with my 3k walk just to pick up the camino again I may just plod to Zariquiegeui rather than try to make it to Puente La Reina.

I am very happy and impressed with my body! It’s taken a real pounding today and apart from some tight muscles I’m injurY free.

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