50 Days of Camino

Kevin Soltysiak's travel log of the way of St. James, the "Camino de Santiago"

Tiebas — Pamplona

I was still sick when I woke up, but I felt better than the day before. The walk to Puente la Reina was short and quick, with Loïc, Ilay and I arriving there shortly before 14h. We grabbed lunch in a restaurant: it was the first time we were disappointed with food in Spain, both price-wise and quality-wise, but I guess it had to happen sooner or later.

We noticed a radical change once we got to Puente la Reina, and even in the town before, Obanos: it was the place where the Camino Aragones merged the Camino Frances, and therefore we started seeing way more pilgrims than we were used to!

It was time to say goodbye to Ilay: Loïc and I had planned to go in Pamplona and stay there a couple of days. The city wasn’t on our way, but the grand master of maps (Loïc) felt it would be a good place to take a break in. Meanwhile Ilay was going on, which meant we probably wouldn’t be seeing him again. But that’s what happen on the Camino: people come and go. It’s all part of the experience :)

We took a bus to Pamplona. Since it wasn’t on our way, we felt justified in not walking for once. Once there, we checked into an albergue ran by germans, and you could sense it: it felt both very strict and welcoming at the same time, which was odd. We felt a bit trapped because of the restrictions: the doors would close at 22h and we had to be gone by 8h on the morrow. Most albergues on the Camino Frances work that way, but we didn’t know that yet, and the ones we had stayed in up until then were more relaxed…

But we had checked in, so we decided to take the rest of the day slow. We had a few drinks, ate here and there, and we randomly ran into Jens again. Loïc also stumbled upon Peter and Ann, who we hadn’t seen since Izco, where they told us they were making a detour and then would be going back home. Small world !

Then I left them and went.. on a tinder date. I know. Don’t judge. But my reasoning was that it would be a good way to meet locals without feeling like intruding into a group, something I’m not comfortable with. So I had a few drinks with Andrea, born and raised in Pamplona! She showed me around until we were interupted by a heavy rain… We both didn’t care much, but I was dressed lightly and got soaked to the bones. After one last drink, I went back to my albergue and got to spend the first of many nights in a dorm with heavy snorers.