Day 3: Confessions of a Pintxo Eater

What a day this was! But first I must set the record straight: on days one and two I portered my backpack, meaning I had it sent ahead and carried instead a small day bag with extra water, snacks and a few other items. In retrospect I am glad I did because they were two rough days! But on day two I noticed I was passing a lot of other pilgrims who were loaded with their backpacks. I felt a bit guilty, so on this third day, I carried my own backpack. I definitively noticed the difference by the end of the day! I want to commend Lisa who carried her backpack all three days, through all the ascents and descents and many trail sections which were tricky going.

We slept in this morning to take advantage of the Hotel Akerreta breakfast consisting of croissants, toast, jelly, cheese and coffee. It was nice to have a later start and another chance to chat with some of our fellow pilgrims, like John and Billie who have like 5 kids and twelve grandkids, and Todd and Carol who live in Cordillera Ranch near Boerne.

I took heed of information gleaned from my sister Katita’s Camino blog ( and booked a couple rooms at the Hotel Catedral in Pamplona. It turned out to be the perfect place: close to all the action, but situated on a quiet street. And there was plenty of action with a lot of people in town celebrating Saturday. I quickly took care of some chores: did my laundry (the machines dose the load with soap so all you need are dirty clothes and some money), replaced my faulty charger with a 3.4 amp super charger, hit the ATM (yes, Paula, I remembered my PIN), and bought bananas to treat some leg cramps.

I met Lisa at a pintxo place she had heard about and we drank wine and ate a plate of pata negra and a pintxo consisting mainly of eggs scrambled with morcilla. We decided to try a different place so I suggested Calle Estafeta where I had seen a lot of bars and people. On the way, we bumped into a waiter who had served me a beer while I was waiting for my clothes to dry and he suggested El Gaucho. Off we went and had txangurro au gratin and patatas entrufada con alcochofa, washed down with glasses of Ramon Bilbao. We then went to the square in front of the Ayuntamiento to look for Paul, a Pamplona local we be met on the Way who offered to give us a tour of the area. We did not connect with him, so went to Hemmingway’s Corner at the Cafe Irún for another refreshment and watched all the people watching people at the Plaza del Castillo. After that we went in search of the Pilgrim’s mass but unfortunately went to the wrong church. We visited the Cathedral hoping it was there – wrong again but we wandered the big church and admired the intricate paintings and carvings. As we returned to the hotel we wistfully watched as the crowds, even bigger and more boisterous now, settled into the evenings partying. Another time we would have joined in. But this is a trip with a different mission.

On the way to Pamplona we came across St Stephens church. If you obey the nun and read about the church and pass an oral exam, she will let you climb the stairs and ring the bell!
Lisa’s welcoming band as we entered Burlada, just before reaching Pamplona.
Jim’s welcoming band upon arriving in Burlada. It turned out that we arrived on the annual feast day of the town of Burlada. We wandered through a fair and watched people dressed in local costumes danced in ancient Basque tradition.

Sorry for going on and on but as I said at the top of the post, it was quite a day. Luckily for you, I have an early start and must now get some sleep!

4 thoughts on “Day 3: Confessions of a Pintxo Eater

  1. WOW, Jim.It looks like you are having a fabulous time, I am so happy for you. I t is really fun being able to follow you as you continue on your exciting journey. Thank you!


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