Pamplona to Villamayor de Monjardin

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We’ve now walked from Pamplona to Villamayor de Monjardin, over the last three days, a total of around 56Km. Utterly beautiful. Our injuries seem to have settled and our particularly injured member has stepped up to the plate, pushed through and is keeping up nicely, after some quality time with the Physio in Pamplona. Her husband has had much advice to offer on the subject of injuries, and as a consequence we have asked him to start every sentence with the phrase “I’m no doctor, but…” I’m no doctor but, let’s stop for a coffee, I’m no doctor but I need a bathroom break, etc.


I walked out of Pamplona on my own, having taken the sleep in option and also wanting a little alone time. The trail takes you out of Pamplona and up into the mountains, at the top there are scores of windmills, I love these. I caught up with the others in the midafternoon and we wandered into our albergue  for the night together. Again the long tables and meeting people from all other parts of the world. This night was a couple of guys from Spain and four Canadian ladies.


The next morning we set off toward Estella, you’ll see a couple of early morning photos. It was lovely coming down the hill and seeing the sunrise peering through the cathedral. Estella is an especially lovely town, you’ll see photos of the river (which as per tradition, I skinny dipped in…before we hit town). This is a beautiful wine region and you’ll see some photos of the vines that we walked through on our trail.


On the way out of Estella there is a “wine fountain”, which dispenses free wine to passing pilgrims. The tradition is that one uses their scallop shell to drink from. You might think that the wine would be the worst stuff that they could find, but in truth I found it to be quite palatable. It really is a lovely gesture and symbolic of the hospitality and generosity to be found on the Camino. Apparently there is a 24 hour webcam which shows the fountain and the pilgrims who over indulge. I’m not sure how successful this would be in Melbourne.


Today’s walk was through some beautiful forests and villages, and then a serious climb up to where we are now. Medieval bridges, ancient Roman roads, monasteries and ancient ruins rising up out of the woods. It really is a magical journey to take.


This afternoon we find ourselves settled in Villamayor de Monjardin, we have a lovely upstairs room with a terrace, which has views that are genuinely breathtaking. We’ve already decided that we will share a bottle of wine (or two), here this evening. The albergue in which we are staying is run by a Dutch ecumenical group, they seem very interesting and tonight they will run a “Jesus Meditation”, really looking forward to it. They are all volunteers and they run this place as an evangelistic outreach to pilgrims.


So, one thing that I have been reflecting on the last few days is gratitude. It is amazing how walking through 20+Km/ day in some pretty serious Spanish heat can teach you about gratitude. In the past week I have experienced real, sincere, deep, heartfelt gratitude for the following: Shade, soft grass, good tasting water, an egg and ham tortilla, coffee, flat ground, a reduction in incline on a hill, seeing my friends round a corner, a simple single bed in a dormitory, a cold shower, simple pilgrim food, a sound sleep. As I said deep, sincere, genuine, heartfelt, gratitude. In my day to day life I would consider myself a positive, “glass half full” kind of guy, but none of these things would have been likely to gain my attention. It has brought me to thinking, as a middle class westerner, have I lost my ability to be grateful for the simple? There is a passage in the bible that says to be grateful in all things, I think that maybe I don’t even know that there are a whole plethora of things for which I can be grateful in each moment. How great would it be if I could harness that? If I could live in real gratitude day to day. Moment to moment.


I also wonder if time in the dark is required for me to really love time in the light. If I had never experienced searing heat, could I actually be grateful for a cool shower or shade? If I had never experienced being frozen to the bone, how grateful could I actually be for a warm bed? To what else in my world might this apply?


I have spent times in my life where I have felt terrible loneliness, so I can tell you from deep in my heart that I am grateful for my friends. I thank you, sincerely.


About timeaside

I'm setting time aside to focus on the things I think are important. A life well lived, taking lessons from the past without carrying their burden, hanging out with God and seeing what He has to say about the whole thing.
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14 Responses to Pamplona to Villamayor de Monjardin

  1. Gratitude. Perhaps eventually I won’t need to walk 20km through the heat to experience it . Buen Camino amigo.

  2. Jim Unger says:

    The Holy Spirit working on your heart is beautiful and is having a profound affect on my heart. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  3. Nool says:

    I’m no doctor but as I read that I could almost hear his voice!

  4. Nool says:

    A lovely contemplation on gratitude. Thank you so much for putting timeaside to share such precious reflections.

  5. Andrea says:

    Great to read how God is using this journey to help you grow spiritually . I think the unexpected is happening for you brother 🙂

  6. Richard says:

    Dave, just caught up on your latest posts. Interestingly I was sitting on balcony 1st thing this morning with a young friend of mine who has just become a Christian (obviously nothing to do with me), we talked deeply for a few hours about the universe, the earth and its profound awesomeness and beauty and what (or who) was behind it all. There were pauses in our conversation and I would find myself staring out at the sky and sensing something or someone I hadn’t felt in a very long time. It bought a flood of comfort and hope into my heart. Then to look into where you guys where up to and see your reflections brought more of the same feelings again. To be honest I’m a little scared :/

  7. timeaside says:

    Mate, You’ve been a great “trail Buddy” with me over the last few years and I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the blog, it’s fun when things all tie in together.
    Only we who have been imprisoned in the same family of insanity over the past decade or so can truly understand the relief that comes from shedding the burden. I bid you further peace and a brilliant future. Thanks for being a great mate through the crazies.

  8. lannalife says:

    You’re starting to play my song Dave. Over the past couple of months the Lord has been speaking to me about thanksgiving and developing a heart of gratitude. What I’m realising is that the opposite is obviously ungratefulness but more than that – it’s rooted in a heart of complaining and comparing and of being complacent with life! I journalled this thought: A non-complaining life is a life that empowers – it will empower me and it will empower others.

    I love what a friend of mine said, that when we start to give thanks we trouble our troubles! It’s time to live lives that are full of thanksgiving and trouble our troubles away!! 🙂

    Thanks for the encouragement Dave – I will continue to develop a heart and a posture of thanksgiving. I’m starting to get more excited about seeing my troubles being troubled by my heart of thanksgiving! 🙂

  9. lannalife says:

    By the way, I also love your photos – it’s great to be able to visualise what you’re experiencing – to some degree, anyways. Thanks mate.

    • timeaside says:

      Thanks Paul, I had always thought myself a pretty grateful and positive guy, but I am really coming to a new understanding of my perspectives now. I’m also finding a shift in my priorities, what I have been thinking is important probably isn’t, and some things that have gone under my radar in the past are finding their way up front. It’s all very interesting

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