Resting with fellow pilgrims enroute to Pamplona.
Resting with fellow pilgrims enroute to Pamplona.(Canadian, Irish, Russian & Swedish at this table with us)

One Day 1, Marilyn and I never saw another pilgrim (hiker on the Camino de Santiago). We had chosen the lower route into Roncesvalles on Day 1.  The search for two missing United Kingdom hikers the month before on the lower route scared off a lot of people interested in taking that route. We never heard about the five-day intense search for the lost hikers.  They were found alive and well.

Because of the long first day, we decided early the next morning to take the bus from Roncesvalles to Zubiri and to recover an extra day from our experiences to date. The bus was nice and very inexpensive. We arrived in Zubiri before noon and found a place to stay easily. We met a lot of hikers in Roncesvalles, but never actually walked with any. That was about to change.

The distance from Zubiri to Pamplona is around 21 kilometers. We started walking just after sunrise. Breakfast included café con leche, fresh squeezed orange juice and a croissant. We carried our backpacks. Mine weighed about 18 pounds and Marilyn’s weighed 16 pounds.

We walked and chatted briefly with many pilgrims passing us. They were from Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Belgium, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries. One guy from Ireland took us under his wing and stayed with us for most of the journey. We were slow and never passed another hiker.

Upon entering Pamplona, our Irish guide wanted to take a detour and explore the river route into town. It was nearly a kilometer longer.  We appreciated his company and joined him on the extra trek into town. Marilyn and I were both exhausted as we wondered along the river. It was nearing four o’clock and we had been walking over nine hours.

Marilyn told me in no uncertain terms, that the first hotel we came to, regardless of the price, was the one we were going to stay in that night. And, she was right.

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