ELEVATION GAINED: 484m
ELEVATION LOST: 541m
DIFFICULTY: easy to moderate
What a stunning day we have had on a fantastic track all along the way. I was expecting the elevation and gradient to be much harder than it was but all that training on Basque mountains has paid off because I found it very steady the whole way.
So we left Pamplona by walking through the massive castle grounds and picked up the Camino from there with the help of some locals. On the whole Pamplona is a really friendly city, I was lost for a while on my own (without Williams trilingual assistance) and had to ask for directions in very limited Spanish. Every local I spoke to were so kind and helpful, it really is a nice change to my experience of cities like London where people are so impersonal and cold.
As you leave Pamplona, you walk up a steady hill following the road and then we came to a fountain. As it was getting hot we decided to have some fun and get the dogs soaking wet incase they got really hot. In hindsight it was unecessary as there was plenty of water points and rivers along the way but I always think you can never be to cautious with dogs and heat.
Eventually the trail goes through a gravel path, which again makes very pleasant walking. You can see all these amazingly healthy and happy fields of wheat. In Cornwall the same crop would be sodden with rot and fungus and most probably saturated in pesticides too. It explains why the bread out here is much better- less chemicals and more sunshine!!
We came across an albergue/bar/restaurant called San Andres and decided to stop off for a lunch as you should always grab these chances while they arise. They had a menu del dia so I had a lovely salad with lots of olives and William had chicken soup. They did not have a fish option for main (I always go for salad then fish) so we both had albondigas (Spanish meatballs) made in a pumpkin sauce and they were lovely, I had yoghurt for pud and William had flan. We then had turbo power to get to the iconic spot of alto de perdon.
So we got to alto de perdon after a slow and steady walk up the hill and took some photos of the iconic metal pilgrams. I’m always happy when I see something in the flesh that I have seen on the net lots of times. Its that feeling of ticking off the ‘bucket list’!
After the Alto de perdon it is quite a steep and stoney way down so now is when you want a stick or just generally be careful. I like to take the crab approach and slide down sideways. Then the trail takes you through a few stunning pueblos with albergues dotted along the way. You go through muruzabal (which means wide hill in Euskara or Badque) and Obanos
So then you go past lots of allotments and follow the gravel trail to Puente de la reyna (Queens bridge). We arrived at our hotel, had a caña and pintxo and quick chill with the dogs in the bar. I am staying in hotel Jakue (62€)which accepts dogs. William goes home tomorrow and his parents are coming to spend the day with us so I don’t exactly know what my day will plan out like but I hope to get to estella but I have a feeling I might flop somewhere before due to a late start.