Day 04 - Zubiri to Pamplona
Another early start before the weather got too hot. After a light breakfast we headed back over the bridge. Unfortunately there is a fair bit of walking on hard surface today as we head for Pamplona and its suburbs. This type of surface is liable to take a hard toll on your feet. Best to remove your boots at any decent opportunity and give your feet a chance to recover. So far my feet are doing very well, if just a little tender on the soles.
Before long we were in need of sustenance so we detoured into Larrasoana and found the excellent Amari cafe and shop. They had lovely fruit and wonderful coffee. You realise before long that coffee and tappas are the fuel that powers "The Way". Entering into Zuriain over the bridge to come to the lovely bar/cafe Parada de Zuriain on the left where they serve a wonderful local speciality - a red Orujo spirit flavoured with the red berries growing in the area.
The walk in through the suburbs of Pamplona is pleasant enough as you pass along by the Rio Arga, but it is advisable not to cross the lovely bridge and weir at Trinadad de Arra but continue down the eastern side of the river. The track meets up again with the Rio Arga after a short while. This route is a much better than walking the hard pavements into the centre of town and the path eventually reaches the Castle in the Old Town. It all depends on whether you wish to follow the old Camino route. We crossed the famous bridge Puente Madalena (originally built in the 12th century but rebuilt in the 14th century) and came in to Old Pamplona, the capital of Navarre, a beautiful town surrounded by magnificent walls. We continued through the Porta de Francia, the best preserved gate, crossing by the original drawbridge, still with its original mechanism, to the centre of the city. It was an important landmark on the Camino, marking the entrance to the first big city after Roncesvalles.
We opted to stay in the Municipal Aubergue which was only €5 each for the night in a lovely dormitory of just 5 double bunks. Just after we checked in around 3.00pm it started to pour out of the heavens. We just donned our rain gear and went shopping and sightseeing. We found a specialist wine and cheese shop where I got the most exquisite 0.5kg mature cheese for €7.50 and a fantastic bottle of wine for just €7.90. Later we had a lovely Pilgrim Meal, which always includes wine, for just €9.00 each.