“Cafe con leche, zumo de naranja y tostada, por favor”.
The breakfast order never changed and after an hour or two of walking we had earned it. Occasionally there would be a chocolate croissant and in one region the first meal of the day comprised blocks of sponge cake: take it or leave it.
It was early too; bag packing and general rustling would kick off around 5am and most of us were on the road by 6.30am in order to beat the heat of the afternoon.
But the morning we walked towards the city of Pamplona there was a stall with a pizza oven situated about an hour out from the albergue. It was like a mirage at the edge of the track and we fell upon it, fuelling up for the miles ahead. Pamplona, a few hours later, offered my first taste of Spanish tortilla, the delicious thick potato and onion omelette served hot with bread. Mmmmm!
We daundered through the bull-running streets and the cathedral but having spent a few days walking along quiet tracks and through woods the city felt noisy and busy so we pressed on, past the university and out to Cizur Menor, finding bunks in the Albergue Sanjuanista run by hospitallero Ambrosio who later morphed into a musician, playing his guitar in the neighbouring church.
Which is more than could be said for the horrendous racket from the band playing at the local “fiesta” which boomed and echoed until 4.30am and exceeded the capabilities of my earplugs. It was a relief to rise at 6.30, have a cup of tea and an angel cake in Ambrosio’s kitchen and get back on the road.