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
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Peppers hanging up to dry, seen while sitting in the street, enjoying my coffee in Puente la Reina
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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.

Larrasoaña to Pamplona

Walk: Larrasoaña to Pamplona (9.8 miles)

A warm day, still overcast and a brief shower that had stopped by the time i’d put my rain jacket on! We stopped at Irotz for coffee – the bar with the outside oven – it’s expanded somewhat since the last time I was here, two years ago.

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J and P were keen to stay with the nuns at Zabaldika but I decided that I would head toward Pamplona. We had met up with Leo again at Irotz and he very kindly walked into Pamplona with me, escorting me through “flasher alley.” (In 2013 my friend and I met a flasher in this section). Once at Pamplona Leo decided to carry on to Cizur Menor.

I was happy to sit in the warm sunshine at Cafe Iruña and I used their free wifi to book myself a hotel room. Would have loved to have stayed at Hotel Gran Perla but couldn’t bring myself to part with 212 euros for just one nights accommodation – a bit beyond a pilgrims budget but maybe that’s why they charge so much! Hotel Leyre for me then, just a short walk from the main square and where i’d stayed on my previous visit to the city.

A long soak in the bath was fabulous. Only downside was shutting my thumb in the bathroom door – ouch!!

Couple of hours rest at the hotel then back to Cafe Iruña for wine and pintxos

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Foie a la plancha con puré de mango, brocheta de queso de oveja con cecina, vino tinto y aqua con gas

 

Viskarret to Larrasoaña

Walk: Viskarret -> Larrasoaña (10.1 miles)

A very enjoyable walk from Viskarret. Walked mostly on my own, really enjoyed the woodland section. Had a long rest in Zubiri to rehydrate and wait for P and J.

Checked in to the municipal albergue in Larrasoaña, a bit grotty and in need of a lick of pain but for eight euros a bed i’m not complaining.

Dropped my camera! I thought it was totally knackered but I took the battery out, put it back in and turned on again and it started working. Phew! The filter that I keep over the lens is a little bent but did it’s job in protecting the glass.

J was tired and went to bed around 6pm so P and I headed off to the bar and sat drinking wine for a few hours, watching the world go by and chatting.

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Loved this metalwork
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Municipal albergue, Larrasoaña

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Roncesvalles to Viskarret

Walk: Roncesvalles -> Viskarret (7.4 miles)

Woke to the sound of thunder rumbling and as we set off, waterproof clothes on, lightning was flashing too. It only got worse! Torrential rain, thank goodness we are only going as far as Viskarret.

The storm was right overhead as we arrived in Viskarret and we’d just checked into our casa rural when there was a flash of lightning, immediately followed by thunder and the power went out. Had a bath in the windowless bathroom, door open to let in some light.

After a couple of hours things improved and J and I explored the village. The lady at the bar made me a fab omelette (tortilla) with jamón in it. Sat outside in the warm sunshine, happy with my wine and tortilla.

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Our casa rural in Viskarret – La Posada Nueva – highly recommend!

Valcarlos to Roncesvalles

Walk: Valcarlos -> Roncesvalles (7.7 miles)

I think I must have been a little dehydrated when I set out this morning as I felt truly awful on the unrelenting climb from Valcarlos at just 200m altitude up to Ibañeta at 1,055m. I drank all my water and had to stop and eat salted nuts (I never usually eat until i’m done walking) and did feel a little better after that. Leo was struggling as well.

A highlight was a group of Griffon Vultures circling overhead, way up high. Also saw Ravens and Black Kite.

Needless to say Roncesvalles was a welcome sight! After rehydrating with coca cola, water, coffee, a warm shower and a rest I felt more human again.

Very busy here, the albergue is full, the hotel is full, the casa rural is full and also the overflow hostel. They reckon there are 400 pilgrims here tonight.

P and J went for their first communal meal but with my dietary restrictions I just ate the (very stinky) Iraty cheese that i’d brought with me from SJPdP plus some jamón and paté that i’d carried.

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Me, taking a break on the slog up to Ibañeta
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The municipal albergue at Roncesvalles

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Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist camino de santiago roncesvalles

 

Saint Jean Pied de Port to Valcarlos

Walk: Saint Jean Pied de Port -> Valcarlos (7.01 miles)

It had been raining overnight but had stopped by first light. An early start for us. We’re on our way!

We managed to navigate the various options which kept us off the main road. We rested and refreshed at Arneguy where we crossed the border into Spain. The last hill up to the albergue at Valcarlos is a total killer! Started to rain just as we arrived, lucky or what!?

Nice bunch of people in at the albergue and they plied us with iced water which was very welcome. Met Leo from Atlanta.

Massive spider running around in the shower with me – I think everyone must have heard me scream.

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Me (left) and P leaving Saint Jean
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The municipal albergue, Valcarlos
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Fantastic view from the municipal albergue at Valcarlos
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And my watercolour sketch of the scene…
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Cream-spot Tiger (Arctia villica) that I rescued from the doorway of the bar and put in a nearby plant pot.