Dinner at La Poseda in the town of "Z"
The day before yesterday was a rather hard, mostly urban 16-kilometer trek from one end of Pamplona to the other and then across the beautiful campus of the University of Navarre,
...which kind of reminded me of the campus of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and where they stamped our pilgrim passport for us in the administration building.
We walked on to the small town of Cizur Menor, the western suburb of Pamplona, where we stopped for a lunch of tortillas and bread,
....after which we were back in the countryside and where for the next two hours we slogged up a steep, hot, stony mountain until we reached our destination, the town of Zariquiegui,which no one could pronounce so I just christened it "Z" and I joked with the youngsters that we'd better hope there were no zombies there.
We stayed a a cute little - emphasis on "little" albergue called La Poseda,.
...where for 20€ each we got a bed and a lovely 5-course dinner.
The dorm rooms were pretty small and squishy,
...but the pilgrims were all friendly, happy campers.
Eva and Kati from Dusseldorf Lulu from South Africa
One couple from New Zealand told us that on the night they spent in Zubiri there was not a bed to be had in the whole town, and not even a mattress on the floor of the municipal gym was left. So they slept without a mattress on the gym floor! Not me, I'd have taxied it to the next town that had beds. But those two were newly-weds, so maybe their young love softened the hard floor.
When I said all the pilgrims were happy campers, I neglected one exception: a group of six older French women whom I christened The French Not-Panera Posse because all they seemed interested in was bee-atching about the accomodatons and busting the nougats of everyone in their space.
I witnessed one of them barking in French at the non-French-speaking hospitaliera, a hard-working girl who was flitting around trying to find beds for arriving pilgrims, work the bar and prepare dinner, Anyway, the Non-Posse lady was furious because the dorms were on the second floor and the potties were on the first floor and because one of the three showers in the albergue was located off the dorm room of the Not-Posse group so the pilgrims were walking through “their” room. Big whoop. Like the poor young hospitaliera had designed the building or could do anything about it. And those old gals weren’t carrying any backpacks but had luggage which they were having transported for them from town to town. I wouldn’t put it past them to be taxi-ing the whole Camino.
But the rest of the pilgrims were super-nice.
...and seemed to be trying to be nice to and considerate of the young hospitaliera. Among the 36 pilgrims in the albergue there were few who spoke Spanish, so, using my French, survival-Spanish, and my few words of German, I became the albergue translator for the night. Pilgrims kept grabbing me to ask questions of the hospitaliera: what time is dinner? Is it included in the price? What time is breakfast? Is it included in the price? May we have some red wine? What time is the mail pick-up? I felt bad bombing the busy hospitaliera with all those questions, but she seemed to understand that I was just the messenger. In fact she, too, availed herself of my translating service. Apparently someone in the French Non-Panera Posse had stiffed the hospitaliera, not having paid for their room or dinner. The hospitaliera had me ask one of the French women if she had paid, or if she knew who in the group hadn't. But it turned out the hospitaliera had corralled the wrong French woman; this woman wasn't in the Posse and had paid. So I then translated the "I'm sorry's" as well as the "don't worry about it, no problem's"
I hope the hospitaliera got her money.
Then yesterday we left "Z" town and started the climb up to the Alto de Perdon - The Hill of Forgiveness. During the Middle Ages any pilgrim who made it up to that high point was granted by the Church a plenary indulgence, which was a special dispensation that set a person's sin-o-meter back to zero, and so if the person died at that moment they would die sin-free and so would go directly to heaven. However, if the person continued living for much longer they could, if they didn't watch their p's & q's, start racking up the sins again and so could end up spending the afterlife in The Tropics anyway, all that climbing having gone for naught.
These days the Alto de Perdon is a famous spot for pilgrim photo-ops.
We stopped for lunch at the town of Uterga, then traveled on for a total of 13 kilometers to the pretty town of Puenta La Reina,
...where we stayed at the Albergue Santiago Apostol, a large, modern, spotlessly clean albergue with 100 beds, but divided into cubicles of four beds each, which gave the place an open yet cozy feel.
A bed in one of the four-bed cubicles cost 10€, but for 11€ one could get a 2-bed private room, which was the option Tom and I went for.
For as crowded as the place was, the staff was friendly, helpful, and organized, especially with all the pilgrim meals - and delicious they were - that they had to serve.
After dinner groups of pilgrims hung around the dining room chatting and socializing,
..and there showed up a foot-first-aid specialist and his nurse who travel up and down the Camino giving any pilgrims who needed it free foot care and advice.
One sees much kindness along the Camino.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
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