The way out of Pamplona was fairly pleasant – city parks (did Hemingway stroll here?), flocks of children bound for school, strolling matriarchs who kept this pilgrim from taking a wrong turn – and suddenly the city gave way to fields and small villages. The rest of the morning recalled Wordsworth:
“The earth is all before me. With a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about; and should the chosen guide
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way. I breathe again!”
The land through which we pilgrims passed today was painted with a few strong colors: dark green wheat, yellow mustard, blue sky, white clouds. Those four colors filled the eye in every direction, with no lesser hues to dilute the effect. To wander through such a scene was a glorious thing. Whatever else the Camino brings, I will have had this day. As a German woman said as she passed me by, “Cherish every step! Cherish every step!”
The halfway point was a windy pass, Alto del Perdon, where medieval pilgrims who made it this far were assured of blanket pardon for all their sins. The heart did feel lighter to see behind how far we’d come already, and to contain in one glance ahead the entire distance to our next rest. The striking contemporary sculpture of pilgrims from many centuries in procession blessed us on our way.