Day 4: Cizor Menor to Puente La Reina
Woke up late this morning, by that mean 6:30, to find most people had already left. This didn’t worry me as everyone moves at their own pace on the Camino and by 6:45 I was wandering out of the suburbs of Cizor Menor/Pamplona.
The walk gave a splendid view if the mist covered mountain with it’s elegant and massive windmills. A daunting task but I was feeling, all aches and pains aside, quite good so I decided to put on a bit of extra pace and see how long I could keep at it. Turns out I could keepthe pace going most of the day and had arrived at my destination, about 20km’s away by 11:30.
Which is not to say I didn’t stop at the top of mist mountain with it’s metal cut outs of pilgrims past, the sound of the wind being sliced by the massive white windmills and the wind biting through my soaked shirt after a steep climb. At the topic the mountain some enterprising Spaniard had a food van and, never on to pass on a cafe con leche, a sat down to admire the view.
I then powered down the steep scree slope each step biting into my toes. I stopped awhile to shoot the breeze with an American bloke who’d been in my dorm the night before. At 70+ years of age and seven Camino’s under his belt he was a wealth of information. Leaving him I met up with my Quebecois friends and stopped at Utergad for cafe con leche (yes, again).
A great walk through market gardens and then I began to see the beginnings if wine country as I passed through a few vineyards. I was feeling good, the air was fresh, life simple and my aches were, in a weird way, pleasant.
I arrived in Puente La Reina just after 11. A beautiful town, narrow streets, cafes, little shops, washing hanging from windows and some hustle and bustle as people went about their way. Passing through the town, over the bridge of Pilgrims, and up a steep climb I find myself at a great Albergue. Washing machines (not that I used them), smallish dorms, great showers, swimming pool and a bar. A bit like club med for pilgrims.
Today’s been a good day. I’m beginning to get into the groove and my body is responding as well as can be expected for somone who only decided to do this a week and a half ago. We’re beginning to form friendships and know each other and this makes the evenings feel communal. I may be in pain but, so far, I’m enjoying my Camino.
Later that day after a shave, langurous shower and a swim I decided to head back into town. Only to find it a sleepy village rather than the hustle and bustle I’d passed through earlier. Spaniards must live their sleep because between 6 & 8 in the mornings you rarely see people moving about in villages and then in the afternoon, everyone has a siesta and life doesn’t start again until about 4pm. I kinds like the pace of life here 🙂
In town I had a beer (una cana) … tried to have a conversation in French with fellow pelegrinos I met at the pub … I think I entertained them with some startling comments about la ville est tres bon … didn’t seem to offend them so I guess they half understood. This Camino has a massively European feel to it … English is not the most used language and as time goes by I find myself quite enjoying having to dredge through my memory for Spanish or French words. Occasionally I’ll use Dutch or understand a few words of German but invariably the Northern Europeans have a fantastic command of English. So far I’ve met nobody from the UK on the trip, very few Americans, a couple of Canadians (generally Quebecois), one Aussie ands kiwi – the rest are European.
Sipping my beer I began to see the town come alive, the woman across the road opened the massively heavy wooden door to throw some soapy suds down the stone road, a few shutters began to open and the noise levels in Calle Mayor began to rise. One the pleasures of the Camino is experiencing life in little towns that, as a tourist, you would probably never visit.
— Posted from my phone