This is an email I sent to friends and family a year ago April that I just re-read today. Thought it would make a good post with some photos and a little editing:
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Breakfast at a cafeteria 50 m from our Pension Arrieta.
Also found the bus station (for tomorrow’s departure to Órbigo) 3 minutes walk from our door.
Viewed the mountains from the fortified lookout: El Rincón del Caballo Blanco:
Took in high mass (missa capitular) at Santa María Cathedral. Surprised that the Latin Gloria was still stored in my brain cells. Beautiful pipe organ :))) Great singing if you’re OK with all men’s voices. Unparalleled setting.
Met Jesús and Pinte outside the cathedral while looking at our map to find the beginning of the San Fermin bull run route. Jesús was dressed in black with the classic large black beret worn by Basques here. They assumed we needed serious help (we didn’t) and walked us to the Coralillos where 6 fierce and 6 less fierce bulls are corralled prior to the run. Jesús showed me the ~ 8 x 12 inch plates in the road that cover post holes for the fences that force the bulls down Calle Santo Domingo and no where else. Jesús has completed 6 caminos!
He also showed us where to get some of the best pintxos (not called tapas in Navarre) in Pamplona – a bar called El Gaucho. Meeting this lovely, helpful couple brought more meaning to our visit.
No one in the bar spoke English. It was packed. Tables full and 2 deep at the bar. In the chaos I told the boss:
Yo habla Inglés. No mariscos! Reccomander, por favor.
He served us 4 delicious pintxos, red wine and water. We had a second helping of one. Estupendo!
Rested, then went to eat at Café Iruña, where there is a Hemingway corner. Had a decent meal there in a fantastic setting. Locals outnumbered tourists. Our Owen Sound friends spotted us and we compared caminos for about 40 minutes while waiting for 7:30 to come, and, with it, the main dinner menu.
Tomorrow: bus at 10:00 to Órbigo, just outside Puenta La Reina, where we’ve booked a night in a private refúgio – a short hike from the octagonal Eunate Church.
Our whole modified camino is described in this detailed post where you can see many other photos and tips, including a photo of me chatting with Hemingway in the bar of Cafe Irúna. I used several additional photos in this new post.