Camino Day 45 (Larrasoaña to Pamplona) 20K

We set out late in the morning and walked with the Ukele player we’d met the night before. Crossing over the beautiful bridge on the entrance to Larrasoaña, we then walked through stoney paths through the forest. Stopping for a late breakfast where we spent a magical hour with new Camino walkers. The Ukele player bought out his instrument again and we spent an hour all singing together. Sharing food with each other.

After we finished eating we all continued to walk together as a big group towards Pamplona. The walk was mostly flat, but the land was getting a lot drier with red dusty soil. The Mexican woman I’d met before asked me if I’d found what I’d been looking for on the Camino as we walked on in the afternoon. She looked at the Magician and I and evidently saw that’s the answer on the Camino. Finding the ‘one’. This is something that hit me about the Camino. There are a lot of romances on the Camino walk. As some people think that you can’t be single, you need to be in a couple and this solves your needs in life. Plus, you then get to avoid the scary bit. Being completely alone.

Before I left for the Camino, my brother said a lot of people don’t have the life skill of being able to be alone. And its something everyone should learn. I’m an extravert, and whilst I was still with my ex, I would virtually never be alone. When we separated and I went back to my apartment in Dublin, I was completely alone. For the first time in my life. I learnt very quickly to be ok with my own company. And I started to see what a joy it can be. You lounge in your PJ’s and eat chocolate all day, spend half a day in a sauna, or go hiking alone. These were all things I never really got to do when I was with my ex. Well… apart from the PJs and chocolate thing. All of a sudden I had this new freedom. Freedom which allowed me to eventually go on the Camino.

We reached Pamplona in the early afternoon and quickly settled into the Municipal (which used to be a 17th Century church). The acoustics in this place were amazing. I spent the evening worrying about the echo’s of snoring. We all wondered round the city together, and ended up on the cathedral. Afterwards, a man who would become as close as a brother to me asked what I thought of when I went in. And I answered fear. The cathedral is based on fear, the walls were covered with pictures of hell, and devils. Its resounding message to me, do this, or burn in hell. Its pull, and method to keep people praying is based on foundations of fear. And I realised this wasn’t something I wanted to be part of anymore. Previously I’d always seen myself as Christian. But this day forward, I wouldn’t be.

After this we had a wonderful Italian dinner out with a group of about 15 people. I drank too much and enjoyed skipping through the city, and playing on the swings. But we couldn’t be out too late, as we had curfew in the Municipal for 10pm. This made me feel like a small child again, being told what time I could go to bed. We were one of the last to arrive back in the giant dorm. We tip toed through the symphony of snorers echoing through the old church. It was surprisingly beautiful and calming.

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