April 5, 2019
So, it’s true – I’ve decided to walk another portion of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in SpaIn beginning on April 6th!! Oh man – that’s Tomorrow !!! It was just a short while ago I found there were spaces available to travel along on Wayfinding Academy’s 2019 “Learn and Explore” trip so I indulged myself by signing up!
As a refresher, over the last decade plus I had been researching, reading memoirs and dreaming of one day walking “The Camino” when Wayfinding’s founder, Michelle, discovered my interest and invited me along back in April of 2017 to walk the last segment of the Via de la Plata route on their first ever “Learn and Explore” trip . I accepted and loved that 250 mile trek so much that I joined them again in April of 2018 on a different route, the 180 mile Primitivo. New addiction raging, I went a SECOND TIME in 2018 to walk 500 miles of the Camino Francès upon which I walked nearly 200 miles with a friend and the remainder on my own once she returned home.
The Wayfinding Academy is a two year college in Portland, Oregon – check them out – they are doing amazing things to change Higher Education for the better! They set a two week walking budget to coincide with their Spring Break with opportunity before and after for camaraderie . This time around I’ll be walking mostly on the coastal “Camino Norté” plus segueing days on the Sanabra and finishing once again along the Via de la Plata “Way”. Though many Europeans, especially Spaniards, routinely do segments as they can, my jaunts have all culminated at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela where the bones of Apostle St James, Patron Saint of Spain, are said to be buried. Praying over his relics has been the purpose of centuries of Catholic Pilgrimage.
I left home on April 1st and I was awake 30 hours traveling much of two days setting out to the airports of San Francisco, London Gatwick (with a 6 1/2 layover and delayed flight) to Barcelona where the cab driver taking me to my hotel dropped me off five blocks away because the avenues are so slim – good thing I have been there before! Finally at midnight on 4/2 I tucked in. On 4/3 I checked into our very cool Airbnb fairly nearby, emptied my backpack and went shopping for a group feast.
My Wayfinding peeps gradually appeared and soon day three was in the books.
Yesterday we traveled four hours in two rented cars to Pamplona where we stay in a (noisy) hostel for two nights.
The plan was to get some actual cultural enjoyment in today and so be it! We have been to the avenue and the Plaza de Toros de Pamplona – where the annual “Running of the Bulls” takes place during the festival of San Fermin.
We enjoyed café con leche and bocadillos at Café Iruña – one of Hemingway’s favorite hang outs.
Of course we had to go to Pamplona Cathedral for some of our Pilgrims to pick up their walking “credentials”. The cathedral is a “Roman Catholic church in the archdiocese of Pamplona, Spain. The current 15th century Gothic church replaced an older Romanesque one. Archaeological excavations have revealed the existence of other two previous churches. The Neoclassical façade was designed by Ventura Rodríguez in 1783.” (Wikipedia) Thankfully I went inside last year when I was passing through on my Camino Francés because our group chose not to tour today.
We also retraced the Camino route upon which I arrived last August to experience the impressive gateway to this city. “The five-kilometre walls around the city create an unusual and evocative stroll around its history. The city walls of Pamplona are one of the most interesting and best preserved military structures in Spain and hold the status of National Monument. As a medieval city, Pamplona surrounded itself with walls to defend itself against invaders, although it was not until the incorporation of the Kingdom of Navarre into the Crown of Castile in 1515 that its strategic location turned it into an advanced post of the Spanish crown against France.” (turismo.navarra.es)
It’s quite chilly and overcast here and storms threaten to welcome us tomorrow in our first day of walking.
A little over a week ago I was out to dinner with extended family celebrating Grandma D’s 90th birthday party – Whoo Hoo!! And the question was posed to me, did I think I was finally going to find what I was seeking…? Hmmmmmm…