A Bell before Pamplona

Our hostess left us a thermos of coffee on account of our early departure. We set off before dawn, back up the hill and set our sights for Pamplona. We walked alongside the River Arga – a beautiful stream among the green woods.

forest

We stopped at Irotz for breakfast – tortilla patata (potato omelettes) and coffee – wonderful. We chatted with our Camino friends and then caught a photo with the steel pilgrim statue:-)

Irotz

There was a picturesque water fountain at Akareta – we met someone who stayed at Pension Akareta and they highly recommended it (perhaps next time).

At Zabaldika we crossed a main road and followed the arrows up a steep hill. Actually, there were two arrows – one pointing up the road, and one up the steep hill. We surmised that the steeper path was the correct one. We had been told there were two paths – one more picturesque, but longer, the  other less so, but more direct. We thought we were on the short path. We were, of course, wrong.

But sometimes being wrong is the better way, and it was in this case. Such is the Camino. We climbed steeply, commenting that we were fortunate that it wasn’t raining as the path would have been very muddy. At the top, we entered a garden.

Abbey

It was the garden of the monastery at zabaldika at the Iglesias de San Esteban, run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. We were welcomed by a Belgian nun who gave us a hug and a blessing that brought a lump to our throats. She said it was a pilgrim’s privilege to ring the bell. I climbed the tower and the bell rang loud and pure across the valley.

Bell

The nun told us that there were two paths, but we had chosen wisely because we had completed our climb early – the other path seemed gentler, but the climb is longer and later. We were invited to stay at their Albergue and remain for the pilgrim mass. But it would have been a short day for us, so we declined – but would definitely stay there next time, now that we know of the place.

Crossing a medieval bridge we came to Trinidad de Arre – a church and donativo Albergue. Some people loved that place, and it certainly has a long history. But our goal was Pamplona and then we entered the suburbs.

Bridge of Arre de Trinidad

I’m glad it was early afternoon, because the path took us through an economically depressed area, with whole families sitting out on the street, and shabby houses unkempt and unloved. Clearly unemployment was high, and the area was hard hit. So the pilgrims walking past with high-end backpacks and smart phones contrasted deeply with the locals sitting on the pavement playing cards. We skirted the locals and their dogs with a friendly ‘Hola’ as we passed. But we kept on walking.

The main street in the old part of town was crowded with dancers and people – an abrupt shock from the near solitude of walking.

The Albergues were full but we were recommended to a nearby pension – a run-down dive like something out of a cyberpunk novel. The door didn’t close, and the water was piped backwards in the shower down the corridor. But we were tired and it was a bed for the night. It was the start of a fiesta.

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INDEX – If you wish to follow our journey from the beginning, or jump in to any of the Camino posts,
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4 Replies to “A Bell before Pamplona”

  1. Bernadette

    I still stayed in the monastery at Arre. I was exhausted to the point of silliness .. and it was cold but brother Dominic was very courteous. Only one other guest was there, it was 26 March 2016

    Reply
  2. Kathleen Colobong

    Hi Jerry, wow you had some wonderful experiences on this stage. Loved how you were able to ring the church bell. I remember that fork in the Camino road. You chose right. I, of course, chose the path without the steep hill. 🙂 I enjoyed the video. How cool to be there and have such a great view of the fiesta. Thanks so much for sharing. I feel like I’m reliving my own Camino through reading your experiences on your blog. Looking forward to your next entry.

    Reply
    • Jerry Everard Post author

      Thanks Kathy – yes there was something special each day! The entries might be a bit slow as I’m going back through my notes and many hundreds of photos and bits of video, trying to put together a more definitive picture of our Camino – glad you’re enjoying the posts 😀 I’m guessing that many who did the Camino this year will have had similar experiences. Also hoping that it might inspire others to follow 🙂

      Reply

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