Camino de Santiago – Day 2. Friends, Bulls, and 0 Sugar

In the previous post, we mentioned that I was a little freaked out by the snow and mountains on the first day of my Camino de Santiago race and checked into the Albergue in the small town of Zubiri.

In the next 2 days, according to my plan, I had to run 65 and 67 km to the cities of Estella and Najera, so that on the fourth day I could make a good breakthrough and swing for 92 km with a finish in Burgos. Well, plans exist only at the planning stage and I learned this lesson very quickly. But it will start on the second day.

Breakfast on the first day.

After having breakfast with the remnants of yesterday’s meal and saying goodbye to my roommates traveling by bike, I set off for Pamplona. The road was pleasing with asphalt and an easy trail, some podcast hosts were talking in my ears, and I was running exhaling steam into the frosty air and enjoying life. I was still a little hungry, but when you’ve slept well in the morning, it doesn’t really affect your mood.

Light trail and frost

On my way to Pamplona, I passed through smaller towns and even put up my first stamp in Credenciale.

I got to Pamplona in about two and a half hours and immediately went to see the Cathedral. I got another stamp, bought a ticket (pilgrims get a discount), and was a little disappointed that the outside of the cathedral was much more beautiful than the inside. But this is typical for Catholic cathedrals.

Cathedral of Pamplone

By the way, Pamplona is known for the annual San Fermin festival, which culminates in a bull run through the streets of the city! The festival has been held since 1924 and is a continuous celebration lasting 204 hours in a row. The centerpiece of the festival is the “enciero” – the running of bulls through the streets of the city, which attracts visitors from all over the world. The celebration begins at 12:00 on July 6 (Ayuntamiento). A rocket (chupinazo) is launched from the balcony of the city hall to announce the beginning of the holiday.

Every festival morning at 8 a.m., 6 bulls are released from a pen near Santo Domingo Square, from where they run through the city to the arena on Hemingway Square (Hemingway made the San Fermin Festival famous in his works). Hundreds of locals and tourists run alongside the bulls, testing their courage in front of the animals’ formidable horns. The 849-meter run to the arena where the bullfights take place takes a total of 2-3 minutes. I don’t know what to say about the safety of this event, but since 1924, only 15 people have died.

After walking through the streets of this wonderful city and refreshing myself in the Pilgrim cafe, I went on, but on my way through the city, I met my friends from the Albergue. The meeting was very joyful and pleasant.

The bike is not mine 🙂

Running out of Pamplona, I met a guy who had just started his morning run. He asked me why I was running with a backpack, and I told him that I was running the Camino de Santiago to raise money for a car for military medics. We parted ways only after 10 kilometers of lively conversations, during which we talked about the war, running, and swimming, he told me about himself, and I listened and did not notice how the clock was ticking. Thank you, my friend.

My sudden traveler

My refreshments in Pamplona were not enough to continue the journey comfortably, so I stopped in the nearest (12 km) town to get some more food. On the menu were some local pastries with apple and cinnamon, coffee, and cola. It was delicious. Plus, Nastia sent me a video from my German triathletes, who recorded words of support.

The path led me to the mountains and my traveler told me that a low pass awaited me. And so it happened, I ran through a windmill farm and met the place I saw in the movie The Way (the link was in the last post). For me, this place was somehow emotional, I think it was thanks to the movie.


After the pass, the road went downhill as expected, and I ran through several towns where everything was already closed. At that moment, I began to realize that I was in trouble because if everything closes early on Saturday, most of them don’t open at all on Sunday.

I was running and I felt my mood deteriorating, irritable, and scared – sure signs that my body was running out of fuel. And then, miraculously, I suddenly see a working cola vending machine! I put in a coin, pressed the number, took a can, took a sip, and realized that I had taken a diet one. It made me both sad and funny, and I somehow managed to extract a little energy from these emotions to run to the Albergue.

The quality of the bed is impressive

The albergue gave me a heavy-duty bed, said they had a kitchen, but the shops were already closed, so I went to look for a restaurant. Google maps showed me a top pizzeria, which turned out to be a small place that only works for delivery, and I didn’t eat anything there. Then I went to an establishment that was open until midnight, but the kitchen closed at 20, and even though I came at 19:35, no one took my order. Finally, I went to a pizzeria that opened at 20:00, and at 20:01 I was already placing an order.


I went back to the Albergue to recuperate, watched two guys from Canada drying their passports on the radiator and coughing heavily, and realized that my throat was not well either. I gave myself a resolution not to get sick and went to bed.

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