Camino de Santiago Day Five: Pamplona to Puente la Reina

4 04 2018

Walk the Camino they said, it’ll be great they said…

Today was all about self doubt and wonder.

So luckily Suzy got money issues sorted yesterday but not without a crazy amount of effort. She ultimately had to get currency exchanged at a hotel and the ordeal included begging for a ride, a bus trip and more. Terribly stressful, but she sweetly got me a Kukuxumusu shirt for a gift once she was plush with cash and we had a fantastic dinner of tapas. Alistair had shown up at our Albergue as well so we hung out and drank some wine.

I somehow was able to climb to the bunk up the crazy ladder and fall asleep fully clothed atop all my crap from my pack. I was comfy but it was warm. The rustling of packs and bags and not so muffled noises of the other 19 bodies woke me a bit, but I was able to sleep until about 7. After a little tea and some repacking and backpack adjustment we bid adieu to Alistair, Ken and Allen who’d decided to spend an extra day in Pamplona to recuperate.

Today’s “walk” once again no joke.

We headed out and stopped at an adorable cafe for a cream puff and a coffee. The place was killer and even let us try their local not very sweet cinnamon pastry. Then it was off onto the route. We meandered through the city streets of Pamplona and started a slow ascent up up up and up up up across the valley and some farmland. Huge boulders in the field and on the path made it important to keep your feet moving and lift them up with every step and honestly I felt like I was wearing cement shoes. We used the amazing view as a good excuse to stop and catch our breath.

We stopped in a small town, Zariquiegui, just before the last steep rise to Alto de Perdon. Our legs were wobbly and we were starving so the super hot chicken soup and pork cutlets were so delicious and nourishing, and they gave us a full bottle of wine, 11 Euro. After lunch it was back to the route and we saw it had started raining. This part of the ascent is very steep and just covered in what I as a resident of Nantucket would call cobblestones. Every single step on the wet rocks had to be measured but we kept going and eventually made it to the top where there is an exhilarating view! This is also where there is a depiction of pilgrims on the crest of the hill and you are all the way up near the windmills.

After such an accomplishment we relished the moment and then we came across the grim realization that we had to go all the way back down the other side, a similarly steep grade just absolutely covered in cobbles. Luckily the rain had stopped. And luckily we only had some of that wine because the descent was treacherous. Be very careful here or you could twist an ankle.

Honestly all day yesterday I asked myself why I’m doing this. And my answer is waiting out there somewhere in the ether. It seemed the further we went we still made no headway. We passed through town after town which still wasn’t where we were staying.

We found a statue of the Virgen Mary and sat there and had some chocolate to lift our spirits and out of nowhere a flock of hawks probably about 8 of them circled above us, we joked that they were vultures circling because we looked so dead tired… but they were amazing. It was like they were performing for us. Then they flew off.

The rest of the walk super uneventful, tedious even and it seemed to go on forever, but we made it to Puente la Reina and enjoyed dinner with a new “pod” of pilgrims that already knew each other… it was great. We stayed at the Hotel Jakue which had great food and a nice buffet. Til tomorrow.



One response

5 04 2018
Mic Mac

Loving following your journey – I leave Australia for the Frances early August!

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