Tuesday, 12th September.
Here come the girls
The dripping noises from the ceiling woke me a few times during
the night. If any of you ever stay at Hotel la Perla in Pamplona,
make sure you don't get room 216! After my alarm loudly jolted me
awake, I packed my bag, which still seemed to be very full and
heavy despite posting back so much stuff yesterday. I left after
8am, and hardly saw a soul until I approached the windmills.
As I descended the steep downhill I caught up with a New Zealand
couple - Richard and Geraldine. But we can call her Geri. "Bloody
hell, more New Zealanders!" I exclaimed. "What do you mean, more?"
asked Richard. Turns out they were travelling with the
large bearded New Zealander I saw a few days
back. His name, as it transpires, is Uncle Howard. Let us not
forget this name.
Richard and Geri were travelling with a couple of others. Uncle
Howard had left them all behind because they were walking too slowly
for his liking. This foursome had a vague idea of where they were
going, and none of them spoke a word of Spanish. Hmm. After a while
I left them, they were far too slow for me. I intended getting a
bed at the refugio in Puenta La Reina tonight.
When I arrived at Puenta La Reina, the refugio appeared to be
unstaffed. There were people going in and out of the refugio, but I
had no idea what was going on. The sign on the door said it wasn't
open for another 45 minutes. A tad confused, I plonked myself outside
and waited for divine inspiration. Or something.
A couple of minutes later a bunch of Swiss folks barged on in with
their backpacks, so I followed suit. I bagged a bed, and wondered
what happened next.
Not a lot, as it turned out. A young bloke rolled up later to
collect money and stamp crendecials. I ran into Richard and Geri,
and we wandered through the town together. We visited the church,
which had an ornate, gold altar. But the floor was wooden. We sat
by the bridge and yakked as the sun set.
Soon enough I was hungry, and I sought out a cheap restaurant.
I found one, and walked through the bar to the restaurant which was
out the back. Two girls I'd seen before at the refugio were there.
They invited me to eat with them, which I thought was terribly
Barb and Noelle (Noelle has an umlaut over the first "e", but I
can't be bothered working out how to do that...same as all the accents
and graves that I'm missing out all over the shop) were from Canada,
and still are from what I can gather. Noelle, fluent in French,
could speak a little bit of Spanish. Barb knew the Spanish word for
beer. Not so bad when you consider the extent of my Spanish when I
entered Spain: "Buenos dias", "gracias", "donde esta la telefono" and
"sin plomo". Great, so I could say "hello" and "thank-you".
Everywhere I went I could find the telephone, so I never actually
asked where the telephone was. Furthermore, had I asked I wouldn't
have been able to understand the directions. And "sin plomo"? Well
that basically means unleaded fuel. Not something you need a lot of
when you're on foot.
(As for why I knew "sin plomo", well I bought one of these
teach-yoursef-Spanish tapes, and it was geared towards the tourist.
And the phrase just stuck in my head, for some unknown reason.)
They're going to wake me when they get up tomorrow.