Camino – Madrid to Roncesvalles (Trip Day 4 / Camino Day 1)

October 2, 2017


An early start to catch the 7.30am train to Pamplona, which is just over 3 hours away. Watched a beautiful sunrise, as a fine mist hung a few feet above the ground…..that almost sounded poet. It’s surprised me how dry Spain is but then they’ve had an exceptionally hot summer.

By the time I got to the bus station in Pamplona, bought the ticket for the 3pm bus to Roncesvalles and found the lockers to stash my bags in it was nearly lunchtime, which only left a few hours to explore.  

It’s a very pretty city with a good mix of old and new buildings. The main square – Plaza del Castillo – was particularly beautiful. It’s surrounded by old apartments which means I went nuts taking photos of windows.

Back at the bus station I watched all these people that were definitely going to be walking the Camino and I’m looking at their tiny backpacks and feeling a bit embarrassed to bring out my hulking great pack but I’ve found that quite a few people aren’t doing the whole thing. I even managed to have a very broken conversation with a couple of old Spanish guys (who didn’t speak any English) that are walking half this year and coming back next year to do the rest.

The bus ride that took and hour would take me two days to walk, had I thought about it beforehand, I would have just started in Pamplona but in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t.

I doubt the village of Roncesvalles would exist if it wasn’t for the Camino because besides the chapel, hotel and a couple of albergues (pensiones), there is nothing there. All these towns/villages are extremely pretty, with white walls and wooden shutters, almost Swiss-esque.

I went to the Pilgrims Mass in the little chapel, I’m not Catholic or overtly religious but I thought it was a good way to start a pilgrimage. I didn’t understand a word of it (all in Spanish) except for the Pilgrim’s Blessing, which the little old priest read out in about 7 languages (I only recognised a couple of words of the English version).

At dinner there were two larges tables of Americans that I worked out were cycling as well as a large group of Germans.

Nervous about tomorrow and not sure how far I’ll actually walk.


Sounds AWESOME, Lindy. Hope every day gives you pleasure! Take care.

What a great way to spend a minute an hour a day a week fortnight or month. I am inspired and a bit jealous of your courage. Right here right now is a good mediation as each foot has a turn moving in a direction one after the other, on and on. Love ya guts. KC in weipa