May 18-19, 2019
An aria from joyous birds greeted us as we stepped out the door! Though rain had poured much of the night, morning brought clouds and sun playing an enthusiastic game of tag.
We hiked as a threesome – Jay, me, and a new friend from Slovenia, Alenka. When the owner of Pensión El-La had called ahead to Larrasoaña to make reservations, she had only found one available room, which had three beds. Alenka had been listening, and suggested that we share the room. We delightedly agreed.
I assumed that Alenka would hike her own pace and meet us in the afternoon at the Pensión Peregrino in Larrasoaña. After all, no one hikes as slowly as I do! Alenka assumed that we would hike the day together since we would be spending the night in the same room.
“We hike very slowly,” Jay warned her. “Once we were passed by a worm!”
Alenka laughed. “It will be good for me to slow down. I am trying to learn to take time for noticing things.” And so, the three of us happily dawdled along, noticing many scenes of beauty, especially flowers!
Fortunately for us, Alenka’s English was very good. Slovenian is an amazingly inscrutable language!
Alenka tried to teach me the Slovenian word for rose: vrtnica. I practiced for two days, and still mangled the pronunciation!
I’m wondering if Shakespeare also struggled with the Slovenian word before he penned his immortal quote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Fortunately, we could enjoy the flowers whether we knew the names or not!
From domesticated rose to wild rose, the flowers shouted their glory!
We saw a good deal of Friday’s rain on Saturday and Sunday, in the form of glowering clouds, dripping branches across the trail, and rushing, roaring, rising run-off!
Around noon on Saturday, a Gothic bridge brought us across the Rio Arga and into the town of Zubiri. Our guidebook informed us that “Zubiri” is from the Basque word meaning “town of the bridge”.
Much to our delight, we were just in time to see a group in cultural costume parading down the street, making incredible rhythmic music with huge clanging bells tied to their waists!
Jay took a short video.
When I later described the costumes to the host of Pensión Peregrino, he showed me a large map of Navarre. “Those clothes are from the extreme northern part of Navarre,” he explained. “I have no idea why they were parading in Zubiri today!”
Sunday brought even more flooding as the Camino followed the course of the Río Arga. Once, the river spilled over its banks, requiring us to wade up to our knees in a quiet muddy backwater.
Crossing the Río Ulzama near Villava gave us a great appreciation of medieval bridges resisting rushing water, and providing protection to passing pedestrians. Jay took a video to show the water’s fierce force!
Coming into Pamplona, we passed a park near the Río Arga. Jay laughed, “Today the tables are for turtles!”
The medieval walls of Pamplona gave us a sense of walking through time.
A chill ran up my spine as I walked through the Portal de Francia. Who knew how many footsteps were mingling with mine!
It was a relief to reach our hostel Sunday night and hang up wet socks. The weather report promised sun for Monday. I looked forward to another day of adventure!