A brief stay in Pamplona

A street performer painted as an angel statue in Barcelona.

And then there was a weird pause, and then she said, ‘All angels go by the name Erika.’ And then I was like, ‘Right, right, right,’ and then I felt dumb, because that’s, like, the first thing you learn in seventh grade transmigration studies. Anyway.


August 26th marks the day we set out from Pamplona, and I seem to have basically no pictures of Pamplona itself — we didn’t spend much time there — so here’s another picture from Barcelona’s Las Ramblas. This is one of the many living statues that line the street taking pictures with tourists.

From my Facebook, last year:

Aqui estamos en Pamplona – finalmente, despues de un acidente con mi cafe por la mañana y un viaje de tren que cambió a un viaje de autobús – y ya encontramos otra peregrina. Aquí vamos… // Here we are in Pamplona – finally, after am accident with my coffee in the morning and a train ride that changed to a bus ride – and we already met another pilgrim. Here we go …

The accident with my coffee involved me spilling a scaldingly hot Americano on my pink shirt, which I managed to change out of in the middle of the train station. (I remember my dad was very impressed that I could change shirts in less than a minute in a public space. The things you learn doing theatre, I told him.)

Our train ride to Pamplona ended halfway through when some kind of electrical glitch made them kick all of us off the train and eventually herd us onto a bus to get us the rest of the way. At that point in the trip my Spanish was still fairly rudimentary, so it was a confusing process.

In Pamplona, when we got off the bus with our walking sticks and backpacks, a woman approached us and asked in a noticeable Australian accent if we were walking the Camino. Her name was Lisa, from Perth, and she said she was setting out in the morning from an albergue. We shared a taxi ride to her albergue, and Dad insisted on paying for the whole fare: the first in a long line of favors we would do and have done for us along the way.

The taxi driver, I remember, asked us where we were from (he spoke rudimentary English, I spoke rudimentary Spanish, we were making it work). When we told him “Alaska,” he lit up. “Grizzly bears!” Seemed fair — everything I knew about his town was “Bulls!” At least it wasn’t “Sarah Palin!” which was the reaction I usually got when I visited Greece in 2010.

August 26th marked our first day of walking. More pictures tomorrow!

Buen viaje y buen camino

A fountain in Barcelona by night.

A fountain in Barcelona by night.

One year ago, I left Alaska for points east (Barcelona) and then began trekking back west (Seattle, via New York, via Santiago, via Pamplona).

August 23, 2012


Here being Barcelona! With all the time zone changes, we got here . . . Approx. 36 hours after leaving the house. So since the Camino pilgrimage – and indeed, all pilgrimages – traditionally begins with the first step out your door, I have been on pilgrimage since yesterday.

It is, as Bilbo said, a dangerous business, stepping out your front door, but thus far the worst we’ve had to deal with was non-functioning wifi in Heathrow and the hostel mixing up our reservation such that we have a room with a shared bath rather than a private.

There are a lot of “One year ago I…” moments coming up, and I have hundreds of photos from the Camino that I never posted anywhere, so expect a lot of those, and a lot of nostalgia, in the next month and a half.