Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 4-12: Pamplona to Burgos

This summer, Rivers teachers are embarking on a variety of activities through the school’s faculty enrichment grants, which aim to promote the intellectual growth of Rivers teachers through research, education, and other independent projects. Today, we hear from Alaina Cotillo, who is participating in the five-week St. James’ Way hike that starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Well, no bull sightings in Pamplona as I was a few weeks too early for the Running of the Bulls during the Fiestas de San Fermín. Walking through the streets, visiting the cathedral, and eating outside in the Plaza Mayor were a treat nonetheless. Since leaving Pamplona, located in the Navarra region, the scenery has varied greatly depending on the day and also on the region. The thick greenery from the mountains became sparse as the land became dryer. One day last week, feeling confident in my trekking abilities, I decided to walk and listen to my iPod. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bad decision as I began to pay more attention to the lyrics of the songs than to the narrow, rocky path on which I was walking. All of a sudden, I felt my back foot catch on something and in an instant, I hit the ground. My immediate reaction was to self-assess. First off, I had no searing pains in my body. Secondly, I searched for my iPod and camera in the brush, because both went flying as I fell. Luckily, they both still work. Finally, as I picked myself up, I noticed blood dripping down my leg from my knee crashed into a rock. It looked worse than it was, and in the end, I only had a few bruises and scrapes as well as learned not to walk the Camino while listening to music.

As I approached the Navarra-Rioja regional border, the majority of the landscape turned into vineyards, which produce the grapes that make the world renowned Rioja wine. Every field was immaculately cared for and I found it interesting to see the various shapes and sizes of the grapevines depending on what type of grape had been planted. The vineyards quickly changed to field upon field of wheat as I entered Castilla y León, Spain´s largest region. Currently I am in Burgos, one of the region´s main cities. This is the first full day of rest I have taken since beginning my pilgrimage 12 days ago. During that time, I have walked nearly 200 miles. I think a day of rest is well deserved!

Alaina Cotillo

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Mary said...
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