Nájera to Cirueña

Walk: Nájera -> Cirueña 10 miles

Early morning coffee by the river before setting off on the road to Cirueña. I’d arranged to get my rucksack transported ahead, which I was a little nervous about – would I ever see my bag again?!

So, I travelled light but had my raincoat as it looked slightly overcast at first light. Wasn’t needed though as it turned into a marvellous, warm, sunny day. Many Corn Buntings singing in the fields 🙂

Refreshment stop in Azofra and then out across the vineyards and fields again. Lovely light and scenery – it looked almost painted – stripes of greens and browns all blending into one another.

A long slog up the hill into Cirueña, the new part of which is still as I remember it from 2013 – a souless ghost town with row upon row of modern houses all “se vende” (for sale). We’d decided on Albergue Victoria in the old village of Cirueña and it was absolutely lovely with a very warm welcome from the owners. And happily about 20 minutes later my rucksack arrived. Yay! Happy!

It’s amazing how good a shower and a change of undies can make you feel. Wandered around the village, took some photos, drank coffee and wine at the bar. Enjoyed a communal meal at the albergue which was delicious. This albergue is definitely going in my top 3 of favourites!

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Fabulous old door in Azofra
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Old farm implement in Cirueña
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Pumpkins growing in the garden at the albergue

Navarette to Nájera

Walk: Navarette -> Nájera 11.1 miles

A cool, breezy start to the day and I kept my fleece on for walking. A little rain in the air. Chatted with another peregrina with mashed up feet and who was under instruction to rest up.

Missed the optional route into Ventosa and so had to walk the long way round into the village as I knew P and J would be waiting for me there at a bar! Rehydrated with coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and water.

Felt like a long slog into Nájera – my broken rucksack is taking it’s toll on my back. Did enjoy walking through the vineyards though and the contrast of the green vines and the deep red soil. Thought about dad – he would love these vineyards, his own grapes, in England, are not ready for picking yet.

Treated ourselves to a private room as it was only 15 euros each, although poor P still got lumbered with the top bunk – I did offer though! 🙂

Restored myself and my feet, sitting at a bar by the river, lovely drink of coffee. White Stork over and Cetti’s Warbler calling from the reeds and a little later 14 Griffon Vultures over – everyone else there seemed totally oblivious to all these. Blister on little toe 🙁

Hoped to have a meal out with P and J in the evening but the choices in the bar they chose were paella/risotto, pizza or pasta, none of which i’m able to eat. Could have gone to a shop and bought something but getting a bit sick of a constant diet of paté, cheese and ham. Went beyond hunger so didn’t bother – survived on cigarettes and coffee.

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Pilgrim’s poem, just outside Nájera

I believe the rough translation of this graffiti poem is:-

Dust and mud, sun and rain,
Such is the way to Santiago.
Thousands of pilgrims
And more than a thousand of years.
Pilgrim: who calls you?
What hidden power attracts you?
It’s not the field of stars
Nor the great cathedrals.

It is not the beauty of Navarra
Nor the wine of Rioja
Nor the seafood of Galicia
Nor the fields of Castilla

Pilgrim, who is it who calls you?
What unseen power attracts you?

Not the people of the camino
Nor their rural customs.
It is not the history nor the culture
Not the rooster of the Calzada
Nor the palace of Gaudi
Nor the castle of Ponferrada.

All that is seen in passing,
And it is a joy to see it all,
Is still less than the voice that calls
The feeling that is yet so much deeper.

The power that pushes me
The force that attracts me
I know not how to explain it.
Only He who is above understands it.

Viana to Navarette

Walk: Viana -> Navarette 7.8 miles

Actually not a bad night’s sleep on the two inch mattress – it helped that we had the room just to the three of us. Early morning coffee in the square opposite the albergue and watched the sun coming up as we waited for the bus to Logroño. Chatted with some American ladies, one of which had a badly infected toe and had already been laid up for two days and was under instruction for no more walking for four days.

A brief explore of Logroño – the wine festival is on – would have been fun to stay (I stayed here in 2013 during the wine festival and it was great!). Pretty warm walking and we’d had enough by the time we reached Navarette so checked into the municipal albergue which was very nice. A picnic tea in the albergue and Jane had an early night so P and I retired to the bar next door with glasses of 70 cents wine 🙂

Chatted with a young German guy who had a very wise head on his shoulders and was taking the walk very slowly. Today we have gone over the 100 miles of walking mark, woo hoo!

Lots of snoring people in the dormitory tonight but i’m too tired to care!

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One of the lovely brass waymarkers in Navarette

San Sol to Viana

Walk: San Sol -> Viana (8.2 miles)

I woke feeling quite dehydrated so P and J walked on and I visited the wee shop in San Sol for a can of soft drink then stopped a mile up the road at Torres del Rio for coffee, fresh juice and water. During the 7.5 miles walk to Viana my stomach felt uncomfortable and I feel quite tired. I think it’s the heat and lack of a decent meal – my diet is so restricted because of my ulcerative colitis.

The hotel in Viana was fully booked so i’ve plumped for a 2 inch thick mattress on the floor at the parochial albergue Santa Maria. No pillows either. It was J’s choice to stay here so P and I ribbed and teased her terribly but we all had a great laugh 😀

The back adjustment on my rucksack has broken so i’ve tied it up with string. Enjoyed my first pilgrim meal of the trip at the 3 forks restaurant Casa Armendáriz and very nice it was too!

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Trying out our mattresses for size…
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Wonderful stonework on the floor around the church in Viana

Monjardín to San Sol

Walk: Monjardín -> San Sol (12 miles)

A good walk into Los Arcos where we rested for a while, rehydrating and then onwards in the heat of the day as far as San Sol.

Nice private albergue and we joined the queue for the washing machine. A little limited on the food and drink options here but I had some supplies with me so no problem.

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The long road in to Los Arcos

Lorca to Villamajor de Monjardín

Walk: Lorca -> Villamajor de Monjardín (11.2 miles)

A long hot day with at least half of the walking being uphill! The free wine fountain at Irache actually had wine in it (it was empty when I arrived at it in 2013).

Not many beds left when arrived in Monjardín but the albergue offered us a private room with three beds in it, we were more than happy to share and the room was lovely, with a view out across the village and the surrounding countryside.

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The church tower in Monjardín. From my sketchbook. Watercolour.

Muruzábal to Lorca

Walk: Muruzábal -> Lorca (13.7 miles)

The sun was just coming up as we headed out from the albergue and did the detour to Eunate. So glad we did, I missed this last time I walked this route. Took many, many photos of this ancient church. After Eunate headed into Obanos for the first coffee of the day – there were hundreds and hundreds of House Martins around the village which made for a spectacular sight.

At Puente la Reina P and J looked around the church and I had more coffee in the warm sunshine. Later when we arrived at Mañeru we were all very hot so sat in the shade by the fountain for a while and took our boots and socks off. Bliss!

Plodded our way to Cirauqui, a very “zen” time of the day – all the irritating noise of thoughts gone, just in the moment, no past or future, just the sound of my boots scrunching on the gravel path, birds, butterflies and the sound of an aeroplane passing far overhead. Added Short-toed and Booted Eagles to my list. At one point, like magic, I was surrounded by butterflies 🙂

Made a fundamental mistake of not picking up food to eat in Puente la Reina. Lorca only has a tiny shop but happily I managed to explain to the bar owner that i’m not able to eat bread and he knocked me up the most wonderful plate of fried ham and eggs, all washed down with a lovely glass of wine.

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The church at Eunate in the early morning sunshine
Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
Peppers hanging up to dry, seen while sitting in the street, enjoying my coffee in Puente la Reina
Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago
Walking through the vineyards with Cirauqui in the distance

Pamplona to Muruzábal

Walk: Pamplona -> Muruzábal (9.3 miles)

We left the comfort of our apartment by 8am and quickly found ourselves re-connected to the camino and a steady stream of pilgrims heading out of the city. The day was warm and calm and we took a welcome rest for coffee at Zariquiegui. After that we climbed up to Alto del Perdón and the wonderful wrought iron sculpture of medieval pilgrims, where we took the obligatory photographs 🙂 The view from up there was spectacular.

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J and P at the Alto del Perdón
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Fabulous view from up here!

And so downwards, almost losing my footing a couple of times on the steep, stony downhill track. J had planned to stay at Uterga but after a coffee break decided that she felt good so we continued to Muruzábal. Very glad too. The private albergue here is fab and has only been open for five months and it was Carlos’s family home. Very comfortable and welcoming.

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I have my crochet with me – a perfect evening – wine, coffee and crochet!
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The fabulous stickers on the door at the albergue in Muruzábal

Pamplona – rest day 2

Another warm sunny day but very very windy. We headed into the city centre on the bus and had morning coffee at Cafe Iruña – none of the sun umbrellas were up as the wind was gusting. Explored the shops, bought a lovely dress and chatted, in Spanish with the lady in the dress shop, when we found out that we were from the UK she told us about her sister who had lived in London and had died suddenly earlier this year. Told her we would pray for her sister when we got to Santiago (I’m not particularly religious but J has just qualified as a Deacon).

After wandering the city for a while we went for tapas at Okapi which is located on the “encierro” which is where the bull run takes place at the San Fermin festival in July. I left P and J sitting inside with their tapas and sat outside to sketch. Although I have a “proper” sketchbook with me i’ve been using my diary – I think I suffer from “blank page syndrome” with the sketchbook!

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A little urban sketching
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A fabulous sunset from the apartment this evening and a few bats flying around outside. Species unknown.

 

Pamplona – rest day 1

A wonderful lie-in! Headed to the main square for a breakfast coffee and juice. Wandered along to find the apartment that I’ve booked for P, J and myself for the next two nights. Discovered that I can use my iPhone as a sat nav/GPS device thingy.

The apartment wasn’t ready but the office were able to stash my rucksack in their cupboard while I wandered back into the city to meet up with P and J. Found them at 12:30 – earlier than the 2pm that we’d arranged. they had both enjoyed their experience at Zabaldika very much. J and I explored the shops.

Got hopelessly lost going back to apartments – so much for my new found iPhone technical skills…

Chilled out at apartment, found supermarket and cooked us all chorizo and cheese omelette for tea, washed down with wine. A long hot soak in the bath was bliss then an early night.