Pamplona is still in the distance. Meanwhile, the hiking poles, backpacks and boots are put aside as we break for lunch at the Albergue La Parada de Zuriain, where we catch up, converse, laugh as we moan and groan, and enjoy a beer or two with fellow pilgrims. The albergue’s signature welcome sign is the large metal sculpture of that which befits those of us making the pilgrimage to Santiago. Just out of sight on the green lawn are several visitors either in lawn chairs or cooling off in the Arga River. Definitely a perfect location for a gathering on a gorgeous sunny day.
Ironic that, venturing on after great food and drink, we passed a water fountain where the water was unfit to drink (one of the countless great things about the Camino – the warning signs for “bad water” are clearly marked; there would be more along the trail). Onward past a few rustic homes through the town of Irotz; wanting to jump of a bridge into the clear, cool Arga River; followed by a blue bike on a roof; a view of the 13th century Church of San Esteban in Zabaldika; throw in some bright orange/yellow flowers. Leaving Zabaldika took us downhill into another beautiful green valley and past another 13th century church, the Iglesia de Santa Marina in Arleta.