French Friends and a Very Long Day: Zubiri to Cizur Menor

A few thoughts from last night. We stayed at a wonderful albergue yesterday called Suseia. The hospitalera was the embodiment of hospitality, the meal she served was in the gourmet range (for 13 euros), and the dinner company was wonderful. We shared a table with six of nine French women who were traveling together. These nine women, probably most in their 50s, have been traveling to Spain to spend a week together every year walking the Camino for the last 6 years. They were kind enough to speak English with us, and were delightful conversation partners. They talked lovingly of husbands and children, but mostly they just affirmed their commitment to each other. While I couldn’t figure out the spiritual practice of any of these people, theirs was a deep and joyful commitment to their particular community of women.

Two – thirds of today was a wonderful walk. The last third I sort of lost my pilgrim spirit. I’m not sure I was particularly kind to a woman named Eva (from Sweden) who wanted to walk with us. My “Health” App on my phone says we walked about 19 miles. I think we overestimated our abilities. In addition, while we had ample snacks and water – we did not make time for a proper lunch break and rest. (Not a good plan.) Tomorrow should be a shorter walk with a bit more time to rest. We made our way through forests and plains, and though our guidebooks told us this would be a relatively “flat” day, I’m not convinced. We also walked through the town of Pamplona, the site of the festival of San Fermin and the running of the bulls. Were we a little bit more energetic, we might take a bus back into town to see a few sites, but right now the best I can do is sit here and drink a beer.

We did stop in at one church (San Esteban) at a place called Zabaldica, where we were able to ring an ancient bell and I sat next to a 13th century baptismal font. (Imagine those who have gathered around that sculpted stone object over the centuries!)

There too, the 9 French women sat and prayed. At the entrance of the sanctuary was a fascinating crucifix where pilgrims and others would write prayers on Post-it Notes and attach them all around the sculpture. It seems a fitting coming together of the ancient and post-modern world. The through line is that we always seem to yearn for someone and something beyond ourselves.

Author: Jim Zazzera

I find myself thinking about the past, wondering about the future, and doing my best to live in the present.

9 thoughts on “French Friends and a Very Long Day: Zubiri to Cizur Menor”

  1. My reaction was the same as yours when I figured out the green artistic background for the crucifix was PostIt notes. What a wonderful confluence of old and new!


  2. Isn’t it miraculous the way illusions of what an adventure will be get shattered and amazing encounters happen that we could never have imagined. Loving your reports along the way.


  3. Walk. Snack. Rest. Repeat.
    Know that I pray for you and Lena daily, especially after reading your honest and spirit-filled accounts.
    19 miles – yikes!


  4. Relative and actual are never the same. Relative is what we wish for, actual is what we get. Sounds like you are traveling greater distances but managing that ok. John and Heather and I are following daily, but I’m not sure I could do 19 miles even on flat land! Prayers and blessings on your next journey.💞


  5. Reality bites sometimes! I’m keeping you both in prayer for more gentle days and travel mercies.
    Wow, 19 miles! I’m not sure I could do that on a bike!


  6. I felt every step I took was either up a hill or down a hill. I dreamed of finding flat land. A friend finally explained flat is a matter of perpective as you are on flat ground going up and flat ground going down. lol. Not sure I will ever agree with that statement but it made me laugh at every hill. You are doing great. BUEN CAMINO!


  7. Jim, thank you so much for the words and pictures, quite inspiring. It’s a real gift you’re giving to us by taking the time at the end of each long day to write and upload your photos.


  8. I finally figured out how to connect with your blog, Jim (technologically challenged, here). Although I have been clinging to Lena’s Facebook entries with delight every day. Thank you so much for sharing all your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and people. The photo of Christ with the post-it notes really touched my heart. Praying for you daily, several times a day. May Christ’s strength and perseverance walk with you and keep your eyes and hearts open each day!


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