Saturday, May 1, 2010
Arrived in Pamplona this afternoon. So, I seem to be on schedule. I find that physically I am getting stronger and stronger.
Again there are still quite steep climbs and descents. Because of recent rain, this has resulted in substantial mud with which to contend. Walking poles have proved to be essential equipment. The weather is a little overcast and only 18 degrees. This is perfect weather for travel.
The surprise today for us was that today is May 1st and, as a result, in the small villages all the delicatesans and supermarkets are closed. Todays travel was done with no food other than a "cafe con leche" and a crossant. So arrival in Pamplona was the first opportunity to have a good lunch. Pepe is still my travelling companion and since this is his country, I have let him choose the menu - today we had baby peppers deep fried dusted with a salty seasoning followed by a fish stew with garlic, tomatoes, peppers. After a rigorous journey anything would be acceptable. However, this was exceptional.
A little about Pepe. He is 63 years old, still married with his childhood sweetheart from which they had produced three children and several grandchildren He has a strong resemblance to Anthony Quinn. When I pointed out this resemblance he did mention that others had also seen the similarities, especially on a visit several years ago to Crete and Santorin. Viva Zorba! So far, fortunately, as opposed to the camino experiences of Shirley McClean - no paparrazzi!! He told me with sadness that he had lost his mother this past week to cancer. This is a good time to be doing El Camino under such circumstances.
While doing El Camino you meet people along the way, sometimes you talk with them and then, you may not see them again for several days. Somehow the word is out that I was the Canadian Englishman who had crossed the Pyrenees with the extra additional weight of a bottle of wine. Well, as with life, one may hold onto patterns that may or may not serve one well. Eventually one may let them go. Certainly, holding on to my bottle of wine caused me some anguish. So the sharing of the wine last night has resulted in certain benefits.
Have just come back from dinner. Again a great selection of tapas and red wine. Pepe has the great ability to engage everyone in his proximity. In a bar he will initiate conversation with all around him. This is not an intrusion but rather a welcome interaction.
In summary, I feel energised and enthused - ready to engage during the rest of my journey.