Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Circle Tour 13--on to Pamplona

Some of the women on the team had gone shopping and prepared an abundant breakfast for us in the camp kitchen. 
I'm embarrassed to have to admit that I did not do my share.

After packing, loading luggage and cleaning the place thoroughly, it was time for our group meeting.

Finally, the bikes were readied for the day's ride, Dane gave instructions, Curt some encouragement, and the cyclists were off!

As part of the daily send-off, someone from the walkers prayed for the cyclists and a member of the cyclists for the walkers/van riders.
This day, both groups came across unexpected awe-inspiring scenes, but I can only speak for the walkers.

We, the van riders, thought we were lost or had come to a dead end. Perhaps it was only the perspective of those of us in the second van. However, when we were attempting a turn-around an amazing view opened up before us.

I tried to enlarge the photo to see what they used to draw the world, and I thought I saw old tires.

Not too far from there, we stopped to see a famous bridge built in the 12th century to aid the peregrinos, (pilgrims) on the Way of Saint James, en route to Santiago de Compostela. Queen Mayor, wife of Sancho III had it built, hence the name Puente de la Reina, the Bridge of the Queen.

We encountered and talked to current day pilgrims all along the Circle Tour. These were all the way from Australia.

When we arrived at our hotel in Pamplona, the weather looked ominous.

Nevertheless we went out for an evening stroll and food.

Friday was a day off, a rest for the cyclists and an opportunity to experience historic Pamplona.

Charlie was our tour guide. I do believe we wore him out with all our wanderings. "Like herding kittens," someone said.
He took us first to the ancient citadel and pointed out all the remaining aspects of the old fortress and its role in history. Then we went on to the monument that "symbolizes the union of the Navarrese in defense of their liberties more worthy of love than life itself."

We walked and walked and walked and saw where the famous bull runs take place--the San Fermines. Then on to the Plaza de Toros.

Notice the gates that hold back the bulls that rush out of their encierro (enclosure) after the rocket is launched at precisely 8:00 a.m. and they come rushing around the corner on that street.

If you want to see today's event go here for an exciting video. You'll also see the huge crowds that await in the bull ring. 

The impression I was given is that a lot of craziness and debauchery goes on with this mix of beer and bulls.

Herbert from Austria rode with the cyclists on the way to Estella and met up with them again here in Pamplona. He walked with us the rest of the afternoon. Interestingly, the reason he was delayed here was that back in Estella he was handed the wrong passport belonging to an Italian! Hmmm, the problem of all European Community documents looking the same.

Downtown there were more encounters: Josu came from San Sebastian to spend a few hours with his American 'mom' and 'sis'.

Alazne's parents came as well to spend time with the Davenports all.

These encounters--meeting or getting together again with the families of the young people we have hosted-- are the highlights of our trip.

So our day off may not have been very restful (Oh, my feet hurt so much!) but it sure was fun.
We ended with a meal at the only close restaurant with enough space for our little crowd. It was raining by then, we didn't want to go far, so it was Mexican food in Spain! There was a group of doctors having a party, lots of music going on. That got Charlie going.

Meanwhile, Courtney was being temporarily tattooed in an ongoing effort to learn John 3:16 in Euskera.

So, reader, did you make it through two days worth of photos? Good night then, sleep well. 

1 comment:

The Bug said...

I LOVE the world - so creative! This looks like such a great experience - but no wonder you needed to recuperate when you got home!