Day 11 – Larrasoaña to Pamplona

Almost as if they were never there, the huge pile of tourgrims has mysteriously vanished – for now. Perhaps I got far enough ahead of them, or maybe they all got a coach to Pamplona.

The morning was spent walking down a river. I found a waterfall to rest and chant at, and they didn’t all come tramping by behind me.


There has been a lot of beauty and a lot of peace today. Time to arrange my head. I’ll be ready next time I’m in a herd of people.

This region is still clearly in dispute. Graffiti everywhere says “This is not Spain,” and frequently the “not” has been obscured, crossed out or painted over with a Spanish flag.


Clearly both sides in this dispute are passionate and active. It won’t go down quietly. I was in a conversation only a few months ago. “How come we never hear about the Spanish Civil War?” “Because it’s still going on” was the reply.

I’ve stopped in Pamplona, the Basque capital of Navarre. The walls have been rebuilt since Charlemagne rashly destroyed them, and you enter the city through a portcullis.


I knew the moment I arrived that I couldn’t pass through this city and sleep in some distant hilltop auberge. I need to see the place properly. It’s the only proper city on this route. Stopping here means I’ll have a long day tomorrow and it likely also means I’ll have to get ahead of the running of the cows in the morning as I’ve a suspicion they’ve been bussed here to see the sights before starting walking tomorrow again. I’m savvy to it now though. It’s about working out where they all sleep and then sleeping about two hours further ahead of them. I can get that done tomorrow.

It’s crowded down there on the street. I’m staying at The Hemingway Hostel, and I’m letting my feet rest after an arnica massage. I finally bit the bullet and bought a little Rosicrucian pin badge – a baroque red cross that’s now pinned to my chest. It was easy to get the price of my room discounted. I don’t know if those two things are connected but I fear they might be.

There are some practicalities to think about such as laundry, and preparing my clothes for tomorrow. I’ll leave in the dark, so need to be able to leave efficiently and stealthily. It’s a seven bed dorm. There are actual sheets though so I’ll sleep well. Often they make you sleep on plastic sheets with foul plastic pillows, usually still damp where they’ve been sluiced with insecticide and disinfectant. Here they’re cotton which almost certainly means little fuckers living somewhere, but I’ll still sleep better than on that repugnant sticky crap, and they only eat one person a week. In medieval times I’m told people would pay to have a pig sleep in their bed all day. Then they could change the sheets and head to sleep happy in the knowledge that the bedbugs ate the pig already. Unfortunately, it being the off season, most of the time, I’m the pig. Unless I can BUY a pig and take it with me?

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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