Hola, amigos. Gracias for following this Camino blog. Here is a recap of Zubiri to Zabaldika before our stay in Pamplona. We hiked out of Zubiri after a night in a pension. It was quiet and private, but sometimes I prefer the Albergues with the community Pilgrim Meals, although we have only encountered the group meal a few times.
After a tough hike, (see Part 2 for details on tough) a hot shower, quiet room, space to organize and privacy are gifts. I’m leaning more and more to the private room instead of hostel setting. If I had to rate an Albergue with a star system, we’ve stayed in a couple four star, but also at least one that was 4 star except sleeping arrangements one star! Some pilgrims have formed groups and stay or meet at prearranged Albergues. They become a Camino Family. We have met new friends we may never see again, but there is an easy sharing and respect for solo walkers, as well as those who enjoy walking in groups.
As the Camino moves closer to Santiago it may become more crowded, but so far it has been quiet. On the day to Zabaldika, it was warm enough to walk without a jacket. A little misty rain occasionally. And for those who asked about my jacket, I now have a rather large red PONCHO that will cover me and my pack. It was a gift from the giveaway box and I’ll return it to another when I leave Spain. (Update: writing this a few days later, I regifted the poncho, in the interest of weight. If and when it rains, I’ll deal with getting wet. It’s still summer. ) The hospitalera, a volunteer at the Albergues Parroquial in Zabaldika, about 10 km from Pamplona where we stayed, bought it during a Pope’s visit in Krakow, Poland a few years ago. The insignia is on the poncho.
This Albergue is run by The Community of Sacred Heart nuns, a group of progressive, sometimes radical humanitarians and is tranquil and welcoming. These nuns are out in the world and don’t wear the religious habits that once identified most of them. I only knew they were part of a religious order after I was in the Albergue a while and then met most of them as they participated in the Pilgrims Mass and then the spiritual pilgrim circle.
The main altarpiece is from the 16th century. The second and third rows are male saints. Unique is the formation of the saints, with Mary in the center, top row, flanked by female saints. Lots of elegant art. Help for weary or achy pilgrims, too.
Our pilgrim dinner was delicious and fun, with two guy pilgrims, not teens, turning dessert into a contest. We also had a mass and Pilgrim blessing. Church of St. Stephen’s is a beautiful old church with annex for the 18 comfy beds. I felt at home, listening to the myriad languages of the nuns and pilgrims. Maybe someday, in another life, I’ll be bilingual.
Earlier we passed farmland, industrial areas and walkable paths for most of the way. Some very steep. I’m guessing that the rock on some paths is to prevent erosion and to keep the way open and clear year round. Loose rocks and cement are ********* the knees, especially downhill. On to Pamplona, a big city, famous for Hemingway and the Running of the Bulls. Buen Camino.