Monday, 16 February 2009

So good night Vienna

The modern way into Pamplona is to go through the park, down a dusty track that appears to be through small holdings following the river until you come to the bridge over it that takes you into the area of town that is nearest the Cathedral. I found my way and was standing in front of the Cathedral wondering what to do next, as the door seemed to be closed.Just then a coach load of Japanese tourist came up with their guide. He asked me to explain my sack and stick and shell and with that they set off in a frenzy of photography. What a experience. It made me feel firstly, ' I must be a real pilgrim.' Then a bit of a freak, a tourist sideshow in the tour guides working day.I was glad to get away. I walked through the city to the University. I had been told that I could get a sello on my pilgrim passport there. What I was not told was that I would have to walk well out of my way to get it. It was the end of the day, however, so what the heck! A shortish walk out of town to Cizur Menor. This village is at the top of a cruel little hill that takes it out of you. Not too welcome at the end of a longish day's walking.The countryside was now more rolling that straight up and down as in the three previous days. This hill is really the first of gentle hills that go on for several hours up and then the same down The Alberque in Cizur Menor is a delight. Run by the Roncal family with a beautiful garden setting. It has been developed over many years as a place of refreshment or pilgrims. For many year Mr, Mrs Roncal have given themselves to this work. Mrs Roncal is a healer of feet without equal in this part of the Camino. On my last visit,October 2008 she demonstrated the effectiveness of burn cream for blisters on the feet. She was also on her own as her husband had passed away since my last visit. I wonder who will take on her work when it is time for her to stop. She was saying that she does it all herself these days. I wanted to say, 'give us a job! I'll take it on from where you leave off'. Being English and polite I didn't. I wonder what would have happened if I had. Round about now Hans turns up. He did stay late to have quiet shower after something of a lie in, and his long German legs have gotten him to the bottom of the short nasty hill at the same time as my sawn of jobbies have. We walk up the hill together. He tells me about his day, I cannot remember any of the details now. I do not tell him about mine which has been another 15 rounds with the great big problem. a few tears thrown in for good measure. I ache and I hurt inside. But for now I listen as he tells me about the plans for the evening. Hans was the one who said that we should aim for Cizur. Get a good place to stay, blast through the City of Pamplona, and catch a bus back into town after a rest. So we did. I stood on the wrong side of the road waiting for that bus that would take us into the city and to the famous Tapas bars. The bus came. It was on the correct side the one I was standing on. It felt wrong. My mind was clearly still in the UK. The Bus is a short ride, down the hill and into the main areas of town. Hans pokes me. It's time to get off. So I do and so does he. We cross the road and walk through the streets. Hans tells me that the bus home is on the opposite side of the roundabout. I take mental note of the exact place. It does not strike me why he is so keen to make sure I know where to catch the bus. Soon it will. To be precise one beer later. We had ordered a couple of tapas, nothing very big, and he says' I'll see you later. All the bars along here have different tapas, try a few'. With that he is off. This is not what I had expected. I thought that he might be able to tell about Pamplona and we might chat for a little. The was a little 7 minutes to be exact. So I did as he had said and moved on to another bar. The long evening tapas supper rather ground to a halt at that point. I had a couple more pieces and caught the bus to Maison Roncal. Pilgrimage has some surprises not everyone turns out as you expect. For the most part they do, but now and again....... I got up early the next morning. Today was to be the day when I got going. I had looked at the guide. The next section was to Puente la Riena. 20k. If I cut the section beyond into two and did half of that as well as today's section I would cover about 30k, if I stopped at Cirauque. Could it be done? I think I can! As for Hans, I never saw him again. That 'short Little fella' he had called me. Well that 'Short little fella' was going to sleep in a town further on that you tonight. So good night Vienna..

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