The weather couldn't have been more gorgeous today: sunny and breezy. We rose at seven this morning (a little late, but after all that rain and wind I've caught a cold and am sleeping in shifts in between blowing my nose) and went to find breakfast complete with cafe con leche. After breakfast we started our walk: up a giant hill, across a muddy field, and then onto a beautiful wooded path frequented by cows and horses. The quiet of the woods was only interrupted by the squish of our boots in the mud and the occasional greeting as pilgrims passed each other on the trail. At one point, just after we passed Larissona, we were walking along the river and thought: I hope there is a cafe over that bridge for us to stop in for a coffee -- and as we came over the bridge, right there on the river, was a cafe where all the pilgrims ahead of us were already sitting and drinking. It was such a welcomed sight, both the cafe and our fellow pilgrims. In just a short time, we pilgrims have formed a sense of community -- we don't all know each other's names or even speak the same language, but we recognize each other when we pass on the trail or in the towns and smile to greet one another; the sight of my fellow pilgrims makes me feel more at home.
After we left the cafe, we walked and walked and walked until we finally came to the city of Pamplona. (That would be six and a half hours covering twenty seven kilometers.) I am staying at Albergue de Maria y Jesus, the municipal hostal located just across from the church (which unfortunately is locked except for when they are giving tours that cost eight euro ...) The albergue is inside of an old monestary, and the arched ceilings are gorgeous -- I feel like I'm sleeping inside a church!
After I checked into my Albergue, Vera and I went off in search of food and found a restaurant that served my favorite: croquetas de jamon. (I've been waiting to eat these since my last trip to Spain!) We originally sat down at an outdoor restaurant on the plaza, but they didn't start serving food until eight -- don't they know that pilgrims are in bed by nine?!? After our bellies were full, we went to the market to get the makings for lunch tomorrow. (Nutella on fresh baguette with carrots and kinder eggs.) and now I'm back at the Albergue tucked into my bunk and ready to rest. As always, tomorrow brings with it the promise of lots of walking!!
Here are a few pictures of today:
I know you've all been dying to see how my feet are doing ... haha My feet look loads better than those of most pilgrims.
Also: some exciting news today -- I received an email inviting me to interview at Trinity School if Medicine!! I couldn't be more excited!! My new friends in the Albergue and I celebrated with chocolate. haha Today's walk was less strenuous than the first two days, so I had more time to focus on prayer than focusing on the mountain I had to climb; all day I prayed that whatever my future was to hold, that I receive a sign so that I can pursue it with my whole heart leaving no regrets or what ifs. And when I got back to my Albergue after dinner to check my email, there it was. It is only an interview, not an acceptance, but it is a step in the right direction. On a related note, it appears my prayers are pretty powerful over here, so if there is anything that you would like me to pray for, leave it in a comment and I'll be sure to pray for it as I continue my journey.
Now it is time for sleep. I think I will dream of mountains growing smaller, bridges over rivers, and all the adventures that still await me, both here and at home.