We woke this morning at 6am, because Aoife couldn’t find her alarm which was going off. Though 6am seems to be somewhat the norm, as someone is usually getting up around then. After a quick breakfast, we head out by 7. This is primarily, the beat the afternoon heat, and 7am is first light. I felt stronger today and the first 10km breezed by as we left Pamplona and headed towards the rolling green hills, punctuated by the neon swatches of canola plants.
Today was Alto de Pardon, which, like most things, people tend to exaggerate. Though it is an incline, it is relatively gentle. At the top brass sculptures of pilgrims walking against he wind sit against a backdrop of far away cities and imposing windmills. From there, we went down, steeply and onward to Puenta La Reina. Though today was a bit longer (24km) than the past few days, we all agree it was our favorite. Just enough challenge, matched with stunning vistas, and not too much concrete walking through the villages. One of the perks of this walk is getting to walk through these tiny towns of only a few hundred residents. Places that, without is walk we’d likely never see.
Though it wasn’t too hard a walk by the end we all began to hurt, it usually happens around 18-20km. Though I’m feeling good, I’m not without random aches and pains, especially at the end of the day. But usually by morning I’m fine again. We’ll see, of course. The amount of ailments amongst our fellow hikers is impressive. It’s hard to complain though, there are some impressive people on this trail, hiking with various handicaps, from injuries, to the elderly with scoliosis, to the blind, they all make it over 25km a day. So I imagine I better as well.
I’m glad to be out of the city though, while I love cities in my normal travel, these small towns are the best. Partially because they are picturesque, and partly because they are quick to explore, and when you’re tried, and need of a shower and laundry, exploring the city takes a backseat. Instead, posting your tired body up at a bar after you clean, waiting out siesta becomes of the utmost importance.
In terms of accommodations, so far we’ve been lucky and always had our first choice. They have all been very clean, with friendly hosts, and not nearly as basic as I imagined them to be.
Tomorrow brings the first threat of rain, but it is a shorter day as we inch our way towards the Rioja region. The Camino, evidently is also a wine tour 🙂