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Pamplona to Puente La Reina

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After a good, albeit short, nights sleep at the excellent albergue Paderborn I was ready for anything this morning.
Although I had intended to spend two nights in Pamplona, I was drawn out of city by the Navarra countryside and I am now in the beautiful medieval town of Puente La Reina (bridge of Queens) named after the towns 10th century bridge, built for pilgrims to enable them to cross the rio Arga on there way to Santiago de Compostela.
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The route from Pamplona to Puente La Reina takes you over the Alto del Perdón where you pass the “monumento peregrino”. The assent is fairly harduous with a sheer drop next to the path in places. When I reached the summit I couldn’t see much because of thick mist, but I imagine that on a clear day the views are magnificent. The first part of the decent was a bit of a nightmare, I really dislike walking downhill when the path is made up of large stones and pebbles, and to cap it all I very nearly sprained my ankle.
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Once off the alto del Perdón the landscape changes into rolling hills and farmland as you leave the Pyrenees and the foothills behind you.
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I checking into the albergue, showering, dealt with my feet and relaxed a bit before poping into town for a late lunch. Although I don’t have blisters yet, I have had two large painful areas just behind my big toes since Wednesday and I developed a sore spot on my little left toe today.

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Zubiri to Pamplona

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Yesterday evening after a late siesta I had dinner with Alberto, Gianni and two other Italian guys, Juliano (I think) and the other guy’s name I can’t remember at the moment. Anyway, the company was good as was the food, although, as you can probably imagine, I could hardly understand a word of what was being said. I’m not a linguist, but one thing that did intrigue me was the similarities between the (Sardinian) Italian and Spanish. This enables Italians and Spanish speakers to communicate really quite well.

…It’s almost time for everybody to start waking up, which will be a relief  honest, because I have been awake for quite some time.

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Once up and about a fellow pilgrim and I decided not to have breakfast in Zubiri, but to walk 5 km to the next village and have some breakfast there. As it turned out this was a mistake as the bar was closed and we ended up having to walk about 3 km further. How was I to know that it was a public holiday in a seemingy random selection of regions? Fortunately I still had some sturdy bread that I had bought on monday in SJPDP and found a chunk of dried French sausage from Brittany, lurking unmolested in the depths of my rucksack, so we ate this tide us over until the next village.
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As it turned out breakfast wasn’t far short of the halfway mark to Pamplona. image

Shortly after breakfast we hit an obstacle. Namely a significant section of the footpath had disappeared in a landslide. With help from the Korean guy and a bit of team effort we all managed to scramble over the obstacle and continue on to Pamplona which we reached at about 12:45 p.m.

Roncesvalles to Zubiri

image Up at 6 this morning, for an early start after a fairly poor nights sleep. Breakfast consisted of a piece of dry bread and coffee from a vending machine, something I rectified with fresh coffee and tortilla in the next village. image Initially I set out this morning with the Canadian from yesterday, a giant from Sweden, a free spirited from Cornwall and a lady from Barcelona. About half way between Roncesvalles and Zubiri I got chatting to somebody at the roadside and ended up walking the rest of the way alone. We are all in this together therefore many of the inhibitions that we suffer seem not to exist here on the Camino, making it really easy to make contact. The walk took about six hours including the breakfast break and a second break just before I went my own way.  image Tomorrow I should reach Pamplono where I plan on staying two nights to do a bit of sightseeing and soak up the atmosphere. Unfortunately rain is predicted for the next few days, so I won’t be soaking up much sunshine! Still, I mustn’t grumble. The weather has been really kind crossing the Pyrenees.

SJPDP to Roncesvalles

Today has turned has been a great day. The weather has been kind, although it is really cold outside at the moment, and I seem to have made the right choices in terms of the gear that I have brought with along.

Earlier in the morning I had planned on breaking the first day into two and stopping over in Valcarlos, which I had reached well before lunchtime, but. I ended up going on to Roncesvalles.

Along the way I met a young couple from South Korea (several times) and walked with a French guy with knackered tendons a couple of times. Apart from that I walked much the time alone.

The walk itself has been great, only Last few kilometers were difficult as the gradient became really steep and parts of the path were quite icy. I was really glad that I brought walking poles with me! At one point I started to become concerned about my water supply, If I were to walk this section again I would carry an extra bottle, or fill my bottles in Valcarlos.

It’s a good job I’m not a vegetarian, as diner was potato soup followed by rice and three goose legs, which I ate in the company of two Italian soldiers from Sardinia and a Canadian chef from Nova Scotia.

Well, it’s a 6:30 start tomorrow and the light just went out…

Napoleon route closed


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The Napoleon route is still closed, so it’s the Valcarlos route for me tomorrow morning.

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