Friday, September 22, 2017


The This morning the women's dorm somehow slept till 8.30 am, which is unheard of in an Albergue! Usually you get kicked out well before this. It was very dark and pouring with rain, we discovered. The three of us shared a quick breakfast, some scrounged from the fridge in the kitchen: items left behind by other pilgrims. I had also bought yoghurt which went down well.

I decided to take the bus into Pamplona as it was such poor weather, and I'd walked this bit before. I had to re-orientate myself as the bus dropped me off in an unknown part of town, but I soon saw a sign for Gran Hotel La Perla. I made my way there and saw my favourite hotel, the Europa, across the square. I had no booking, but they said I could have a room after lunch.

Dropping off my backpack with them, I decided to revisit the Cathedral where there are always interesting things to see, including the excavated remains of Roman Pamplona underneath and now glassed in.  A recording of archaeologists at work, scraping of trowels and the like, gave the impression that the dig was still going on.

There is a side chapel dedicated to San Fermin, an early Christian martyr who died in Amiens in 306 AD.  In 616 a relic (part of his skull) was brought from Amiens to Pamplona and other bits followed in subsequent years. Part of his femur is there in an elaborate casket. His hip bone appears in better shape than mine!

I photographed the Mausoleum of Carlos III the Noble & wife Leonor carved in alabaster. The sculpture was done in 1413-19. Around the outside are figures of the mourners, some wiping away their tears. 

The Cloisters are  under repair. There is a large Refectory and kitchen next to it. The kitchen is perfectly square, with a very high central chimney, built in 14th cent.

I had a late Lunch at Cafe Iruna: the delicious set meal for €15.50: ratatouille w poached egg starter; fish of the day, trout: my favourite!w salad and mushrooms; melon for dessert. A whole bottle of wine was placed on my table, but I restricted myself to two glasses only! I arrived after 2.0 pm but the place was buzzing with a large group of well-heeled Koreans. The Spanish diners only started arriving after 3.00pm.

I returned to my hotel for a long siesta.  I should explain that the best way to get a good meal on the Camino is at lunchtime, otherwise the 9.00 pm dinner time is too late for a pilgrim planning to be on the road early.

Raining and cold in Pamplona

Royal tombs in the cathedral 

Mourners round the tomb with tears in their eyes

Construction of the cloister

Modern renovations of the cloister


Beautiful floor

Reliquary containing bone of San Fermin

Lunch spot: Cafe Iruna, haunt of Hemingway 

Trout was fish of the day

Photographic exhibition of San Fermin fiesta 2017

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