Sept. 19- To Puenta de la Reina: 15 miles, 7 hours
On our way out of Pamplona, we walked through the beautiful park and gardens and then to the University, where they stamped our pilgrim passport.
Today was very difficult walking; steep inclines and descents with lots of loose, rocky terrain. Made the German contingent we were walking with laugh when I said I would decline a drink “on the rocks” at cocktail time.
So happy to have a private room at the Aubergue Puenta de a Reina. We sat outside and enjoyed a cold beer on their private terrace, ran into our Australian friend and planned to have dinner together tonight.
Sept. 20- To Estella: 14 miles, 6 hours
Always nice when the terrain starts out flat. As we walked, we watched a farmer plowing his fields, then stopped to breathe in the wonderful smell of the rich, red earth; such a wonderful, clean smell!
We always take a rest in each small town we pass, sometimes to have a snack or just to use the facilities. In this particular place, the woman behind the counter was complaining, in Spanish, that everyone on the bathroom line should be paying something. I suggested to her, in Spanish, that she put up a sign in different languages and charge a fee (marketing 101).
We were lucky to find a private room in the Capuchino Monestery tonight. No laundry service is available, so we start our laundry and the sit in the garden, enjoying a cold beer. We laugh with a German couple and agree that this isn’t a bad way to do laundry.
Sept. 21- To Los Arcos: 13 miles. 6 hours
I love walking through the towns early in the morning. They all look like a movie set. With the old stone buildings and the town center with the church and plaza, it’s always a surprise when someone passes you in contemporary clothing or a car drives by.
First thing in the morning, we come upon the famous Fuente del Vino: a free wine spigot for Pilgrims from one of the local wineries. We decline, but the Europeans make up for us!
We are in the Rioja wine country and pass through miles of vineyards. As we’re walking, we think we hear music. Around the bend, in the middle of nowhere, there is a husband and wife playing the violin and accordion for donations.
Tonight we are staying at Pensione Los Arcos. Jose, the manager, not only welcomed us, but gave us his cell number in case we needed anything. Enjoyed discussing the day’s adventures with people from Sweden, Australia and Utah.
Sept. 22- To Logroño: 17 miles, 7 1/2 hours
The flat city pavement and the flat dirt road gave us a false sense of security. While we knew to expect inclines and descents, we were surprised to find that there were so many and that they were so steep.
I try to enjoy the beautiful vistas and keep my mind off the inevitable. The large blocks of farmland in beiges, browns and greens look like suede in the sunlight. A farmer and his dogs guide a flock of sheep on a steep parcel of land. A trail through the forest was a welcome respite from the sun.
We happened to land here on one of the biggest festival days of the year- the Harvest Festival. The plaza is teaming with people and filled with musicians and dancers. It’s so exciting to be a part of it!
Tonight, we’re at the Alburgue La Bilbaina. While it’s a great location and very clean, we could have done without the many old, uneven, ceramic tile steps.