Sunday, August 26, 2007

We Woke To Wet Streets and Heavy Rain

We last used an Internet in Pamplona, which seems like weeks ago but was only 2 days! We had a very nice supper at a pavement cafe in the Plaza del Castillo ( Joy will remember it ) and I went to have a look at the Hotel La Perla where we stayed in 2002 and 2004 - now a 5 star establishment with prices to match - from 210 euro to 450 euro per night!

We stayed in a little pension, which must’ve been above the most popular bar in Navarra because there was raucous laughing, shouting, singing and music all night! We hardly slept and then at about 4am the street cleaning trucks came with their loud revving and machines: after which the dirt bin collectors came with their shouts, clanking and crashing of bins.

The weather report was for 29oC and blue skies but we woke to wet streets and heavy rain. So, it was mud, mud and more mud! Trying to climb up to the Alto del Perdon was excruciating. At one stage we took it in turns to help each other up a particularly steep and sludgy section. It was fairly clear at the top but the view would have been better if it wasn’t quite so misty. The path down was ankle snapping - a riverbed of round boulders with slush in between! We finally made it to Uterga where we stopped for lunch. The sun came out so we took off our rain suits and tried to dig some of the mud off the bottom of our boots. Then we walked in sunshine to the Eunate church - about 3km off the camino path - where we intended spending the night. After waiting over an hour for the refuge to open a wedding party arrived and a woman told us that the refuge is closed and we would have to walk onto the next village. We could have cried! Anneliese asked the woman to phone for a taxi but there was no reply so we shouldered on up the hill to Obanos - arriving there after 6pm but luckily finding a bed in the refuge.

Today we woke to beautiful sunshine and donned our shorts and t-shirts for the first time. It has been a difficult day with a climb through terrain that looks like the Sierra Nevada! The villages are all on top of hills and the camino takes one up tortuous paths and down equally uneven slopes. The scenery has been gorgeous and we have sampled the fruits of Navarra along the way - blackberries, figs, Merlot grapes. We have walked through olive groves, vineyards, apple orchards and fields of sunflowers.

Just before Maneru we stopped to catch our breath and two guys caught up to us. “We know someone from South Africa” they said, “and she is walking the camino now - her name is Sil.” AHH!!! I couldn’t believe it - it was Javier Martin who is famous on the camino and is a member of the Santiago-today forum that I belong to. We chatted along the way till we got to Maneru where we had a group photo taken.

It was about 5km from there to Lorca and along the way I could feel the Compeed plaster on my heel rubbing up and down, when I took my sock off I was horrified to find that the plaster had stuck to my sock and has pulled all the skin off my heel. What a mess! When we booked into the refuge I had to peel as much of the plaster off as I could and have covered it in Mercurochrome. I don’t really know how I am going to walk 20km up and down these hills tomorrow.

We decided a couple of days ago to record one thing each day that we are grateful for so here goes.

  • Day 1:
    We were supposed to stop at Zubiri but missed the turn and went on a further 5km to Larrasoana, we learned the next day that there were bed bugs at the Zubiri refuge so we were SO grateful that we did not stay there!

  • Day 2:
    We were really grateful for a private room with a small bath - even though we hardly slept that night.

  • Day 3:
    Even though we had hoped to stay at Eunate, we were really grateful to have found beds in Obanos. Many refuges fill up quickly and there was a chance that we would not have found on there.

  • Day 4:
    A shorter walk with sunny skies, gifts of wild fruits all along the route and a nice hot shower today.

Will try to email again further down the path.

The peregrinas are fine - tired and a little muscle weary but getting stronger every day.

Much love,

S, A & M

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