We made it to St. Jean Pied de Port at 10pm the previous night. Upon arriving at our first Albergue, the host advised us to run to the Pilgrim office and get our Pilgrim Passport, for a couple of reasons: 1. We could get our first stamp for that Albergue, and 2. We wouldn’t have to stand in line and delay our journey the next day. I’m so glad we took his advice because the first day was tough! (We needed all the extra time we could get!)
The start: that morning we woke up at 6:30 to make sure we would have the whole day to make it over the Pyrenees and into Roncesvalles before nightfall. They said that it would take us 8 hours, it takes most people 8 hours, but it had been raining the past 2 days, and more rain was expected for the first leg of our journey. They forgot to warn us how bad the mud would be. It was SO bad. But through rain all day, drizzle to heavy falling to side-ways rain (due to the strong wind), we made it in less than 8 hours (not much less…)
When we got to Roncesvalles, the Albergue was full. All 183 beds we’re claimed by fellow Pilgrims. So we were taken in a taxi to another spot near Espinal. It was a campsite/hostel. Super cute and very quiet, maybe 20 Pilgrims including us. There we did laundry, ate our first Pilgrim meal (which included a bottle of wine!) And talked to some Pilgrims from California. They had been on the Camino before, but were unable to finish. So a few years later they decided to take more time and do it in it’s entirety. They told us what to look forward to in Pamplona, how to make sure we explore the old city behind the wall, and eat the pinchos. They were awesome, I hope we run into them again.
We slept in. I set an alarm for 6:30am but didn’t actually get out of bed until 7am. By the time we were dressed and packed, it was 8am and we still hadn’t eaten breakfast. We decided to stop at a cafe in the next town, where we ate toast and drank Cafe au lait. We took some time to write (thinking it would be an easier day) then hit the trail.
We didn’t arrive in Zubiri until a little after 2pm. Zubiri means “City of bridges” and we only saw one bridge, but it was beautiful.
While eating lunch, I booked us an Airbnb in Pamplona. I told the hosts we’d be there at 8pm; we could cover 10 miles in three hours, right? Maybe if they were flat miles and we hadn’t walked 17 the previous day… Anyway, we gave it a good effort! By the end, we were struggling. We reached the edge of town at 8:45pm and decided to call a cab. We’d already walked 22 miles, and 45 min passed the time I told them I’d be there and we were incredibly tired.
When we got to the AirBnb after 9pm, our hosts were incredibly jolly! They were so welcoming, giving us a quick tour around the place and suggesting the best neighborhoods for pinchos. I don’t think they realized that we were barely able to stand and really just wanted to sleep. But we really couldn’t have picked a better spot for our stay in Pamplona.