Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Day 9 to 12 — The Six Continue — Villatuerta to Ventosa

[June 25th, 2014, Day 12, from Garin:]

Hey all!

We sent an email to you when we were in Puente la Reina on our rest day. That rest day did us well, and we made good time after to make up for our lost time walking around 20km a day average. We are finally walking enough per day to run into the same people, which is encouraging. We are currently in Ventosa. Today, we passed the 576km to Santiago sign! We have walked over 100 miles now. That makes all our feet and sore muscles feel better.

For Corpus Christi [Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ], we were in the small (pop. 150) town of Villamayor de Monjardìn and they had a Eucharistic procession through the whole town (all like 5 blocks of it). The priest was really passionate with his homily. Becca and Kelsey have been playing the game of “guess the readings/ gospel [because they’re in Spanish]/ discuss the homily”. Some days are better than others, but for the most part, they usually get the general gist. If the priest talks slowly into the mike and the church doesn’t echo too much, they can understand the majority of it. The rest of us non-Spanish speakers are totally lost and have to ask what the readings/ gospel/ homily were after Mass.

(Day 9) Estella, on the way to Villamayor de Monjardìn:
01 Estella on to Villamayor dM

(Day 9) Rose, on the way to Villamayor de Monjardìn:
02 Rose to Villamayor dM

(Day 9) Irache, on the way to Villamayor de Monjardìn:
03 Irache onto Villamayor dM

(Day 9) On the way to Villamayor de Monjardìn:
04 onto Villamayor dM

(Day 9) On the way to Villamayor de Monjardìn:
05 onto Villamayor dM

(Day 9) View of Villamayor de Monjardin from top of the hill:
06 view of Villamayor dM

(Day 9) Entire town of Villamayor de Monjardin from top of the hill:
07 entire town of Villamayor dM

(Day 9) Pilgrim problems — Garin drying socks:
08 Garin drying socks pilgrim problems

(Day 9) First storm on the Camino (Villamayor de Monjardin):
09 First storm

(Day 10) On the way to Torres del Rio
01 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) On the way to Torres del Rio
02 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) On the way to Torres del Rio
03 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) On the way to Torres del Rio — “Buen Camino!”
04 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) On the way to Torres del Rio
05 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) On the way to Torres del Rio
06 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) On the way to Torres del Rio
07 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) Torres del Rio
08 To Torres del Rio

(Day 10) Church in Torres del Rio
09 Church in Torres del Rio

(Day 10) Pool in Torres del Rio
10 Pool in Torres del Rio

Other opportunities for Spanish practice come during desperate ice cream searches and grocery store runs which sometimes, but not always, include funny-looking shopping carts and… store workers or waitresses [confused by] our Spanish. Last night (Day 11), we stayed in a donativo (for those of you who don’t know means that they run completely on donations; it is technically free) albergue that was a parish albergue in Logroño. We got a lunch, bed (obviously), 3 course dinner, breakfast, and smiles, and a warm, loving welcome from everyone. There were 2 Filipino seminarians that were volunteering at the albergue and helping out with everything. While talking to one of them, I volunteered to read the English [prayer] intention at the Mass, about the pilgrims on the Camino, that they may [have] deepened [, discovered, or rediscovered] faith.

The church was beautiful and after Mass, we came back to our albergue to find dinner waiting for us. We ate with all the other pilgrims, the seminarians, pastor, and the hospitaleros [hosts]. The seminarians and priests would serve us the dishes; [it] was nice to see them literally SERVING the people.

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño
01 To Logrono

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño
02 To Logrono

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño
03 To Logrono

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño
04 To Logrono

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño — “Even the river is cafe con leche colored”
05 Logrono

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño
06 To Logrono

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño
07 To Logrono

(Day 11) On the way to Logroño
08 Logrono

(Day 11) In the Church of Santiago el Real in Logroño
09 In the church of Santiogo el Real in Logrono

(Day 11) In the Church of Santiago el Real in Logroño
10 In the church of Santiogo el Real in Logrono

(Day 11) In the Church of Santiago el Real in Logroño
11 In the church of Santiogo el Real in Logrono

(Day 11) Served by the pastor
12 Served by the pastor

[Day 12, Ventosa:]

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
01 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
02 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
03 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
04 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
05 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
06 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
07 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
08 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa — Ruins of an old pilgrim hospital
09 To Ventosa

(Day 12) On the way to Ventosa
10 To Ventosa

(Day 12) Dinner in Ventosa
11 Dinner in Ventosa

We are starting to pick up the pace of our days. We get up around 5 a.m. and get walking by 5:30 a.m. at the latest, to get maximum kilometerage done before the day gets hot. We calculated that we need to average 23.1km a day in order to do all that we hope to do (Finnistere and Muxia at the end and Fatima). Tomorrow, we are doing a 30km day to Santo Domingo where we hope to stay at an albergue run by Cistercian nuns. And now, at 8:45 p.m., we sleep… this is late for us to go to bed.

-Los Peregrinos:
Garin, Kelsey, Jill, Becca, Gail, and Rosa

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Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Day 9 — Tom Leaves the Group

[Sunday, June 22nd]

We got up at 5:15 and left the albergue about 5:50. The all-night fiesta was still going strong. We hiked quickly and got to Estella about 7 am. Maybe a couple of cafes were open but as we have discovered, Spain does not get started until 9 to 10 am, so it was pretty quiet, except for the Camino hikers, of which there were many.

We arrived at the Irache wine fountain at 7:50, expecting to have to wait until 8 am, but it was already open. In fact another group of pilgrims as just leaving as we came up. All except Garin and Kelsey tasted the wine. You are supposed to use your Camino shell as a tasting cup to get the full benefit. Garin tasted from the water tap.
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140622 001 Irache wine fountain 01

140622 002 Irache wine fountain 02
Tom at the fountain
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140622 09 Becca at wine fountain
Rebecca at the fountain
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140622 08 sign at Irache fountain
“Pilgrim, if you want to arrive at Santiago with strength and vitality, take a swallow of this great wine and pledge your happiness.”
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140622 07 Irache monastery
Irache monastery
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Rosa’s bunions were hurting badly, in spite of the extra thick moleskin, so she was going to take a taxi the rest of the way to Villamayor. So we decided to go into a taxi together.

Rosa and I were going to visit the Irache wine museum, but it did not open until 10 am, so we continued hiking with the group until Irache village, where we found a hotel. We had the hotel order a taxi. Said goodbye everybody.

140622 01 at Irache wine fountain
Final group shot of “Los siete peregrinos” in Irache
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Rosa and I rode to Villamayor, where Rosa got out and paid the tab so far. I continued on in the taxi to my hotel in Logrono.

My taxi tab was 58 euros [about $79], which is a lot more expensive than a bus, but it was a lot quicker, more convenient, and a lot less complicated than trying to follow bus schedules. Plus the taxi driver gave me a running commentary about the regions, the climate, the history, the agriculture, and so on as we drove.

The hotel guarded my backpack while I explored the city. I would be able to check in at noon or 1 pm.
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I’m at a cafe in the Plaza del Mercado right by the main church, which has masses going every hour this Corpus Christi Sunday [Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ]. There are a bunch of Corpus Christi murals “painted” on the pedestrian road along side the church. Painted using colored wood chips and white sand. Quite elaborate.

140622 02 Corpus Christi mural
Mural

140622 03 Corpus Christi mural detail
Mural detail
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There is WiFi in the square here but it took me 15 minutes to connect, because they wanted passport number, full address and birth date, and a mobile telephone number so they could text me my personal access code, which is valid for two hours. Phew.

Anyway, I had a nice cafe con leche and slice of tortilla from the cafe. Guess I’ll wander around some more now.

Love, Tom
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It turns out that all of those Corpus Christi street murals were for a procession that started at 12:15 pm. The procession started out by walking right over them. See remains in first picture.

140622 04 procession 01
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There was the Blessed Sacrament in procession, followed by a number of priests, followed by a tent, then a couple hundred people including some nuns, and then finally a band. The procession started out right next to the cathedral, and its bells rang continuously for at least the first fifteen minutes. (Meanwhile, noon mass was proceeding inside.) Sometimes the band would play and sometimes the people would sing. The procession went a couple of blocks through the pedestrian part of town, then turned right onto a main street (police protection for the parade), then turned right against after a couple note blocks. I don’t know where it was going to end up.

140622 05 procession 02

140622 06 procession 03

Love, Tom
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I have located the bus station two blocks from my hotel, but the ticket window does not reopen until 15:30 this afternoon. Meanwhile I have checked into my hotel room and have been spending the time sending you email.

Love, Tom
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Dear group [to the other pilgrims he has left behind],

I am staying in the Hotel Carlton Rioja in Logrono, and it is MAGNIFICENT. If you are ready for a splurge of luxury after eleven days of albergues, this is DEFINITELY the place.

I checked at the front desk and they do have three double rooms available Tuesday, June 24, for 80 (eighty) euros [about $109] per room. Yes, that is four times the price per person of an albergue, but this is a FOUR STAR hotel, and that is a great price for such a place.

Hotel Carlton Rioja
Gran Via del Rey D. Juan Carlos I, 5
Logrono
Tel: 941.242.100
http://www.pretur.es

-Tom

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Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Day 8 — Puenta la Reina to Villatuerta

[Saturday, June 21st, 2014]

140621 01 Cemetery just after Maneru
Cemetery just after Maneru
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140621 02 Hiking up to Cirauqui at 8 am
Hiking up to Cirauqui at 8 a.m.
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140621 03 resting on bridge about 1km bfr Lorca
Resting on a bridge about 1 km before Lorca
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140621 04 statue of S Apostle over doorway
Statue of Santiago Apostol (St. James the Apostle) over a doorway
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Arrived and checked into albergue La Casa Magica. (My book has it under a different name. Appears there is only one albergue in Villatuerta.) When we got here the host was at great pains to explain that the youth fiesta going on in the square outside, with amplified music and singing, would continue until 5:00 am in the morning. We all said no problem.

We got here about 1 pm. Becca, Gavin and Kelsey went out to get us pizza for lunch. Next is showers and laundry.

It was much nicer hiking in the morning cool.

We plan to cook dinner in the kitchen here and then leave tomorrow morning again at 5:45.

Love, Tom
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Turns out we weren’t supposed to use the kitchen at the albergue (both Jill’s and my guide books said this place had a kitchen you could use, but I guess that is one other thing that has changed since the guide books were printed).

The host was very apologetic (we had already bought food and started to cook). She said if we finished and cleaned up by 4:00 pm when the albergue chef arrived to cook dinner (13 euros; guests could sign up for), it would be okay. So Rosa hurried up the cooking and we had dinner at 3:00 pm. Then the host was so apologetic and over our objections opened a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red wine for us. Rosa’s dinner was amazingly good.

Anyway now it is 4:00 pm and rest time, although Becca and Kelsey still have to shower and do laundry because they were so busy with getting food and getting dinner ready that they have had no time yet.

Love, Tom
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The gang here is having a repacking party, going through their entire packs and deciding what they can do without and send home with me. Becca left her towel at the albergue two nights ago so she will take my towel. Jill also wants Becca to take my Camino guidebook (same as the one you have) which is newer than Jill’s and often has different information.

The local church has Mass tonight (Saturday) at 8:00 pm. We plan to get all packed up ready for bed, go to Mass, then go to bed. Then we will get up at 5:15 a.m., leave the albergue at 5:45, and start hiking. The Irache wine fountain is 7+ km away, and we plan to be there at 8 a.m. when it opens (according to our guidebook).

We will probably spend an hour there, and the adjacent monastery might even give us a stamp in our credencial. Then I will say goodbye to the group. I will either take a bus or taxi (or walk, if necessary, 3+ km) back to the main bus station in Estella, where our hostess has assured me that busses will run on Sunday to Logrono.

Today I hiked in shorts for the first time. I zipped off the long pants legs and lathered up good with sun lotion. It worked well and I did not feel as hot. Current temperature here in Villatuerta is 88 degrees F.

There does not seem to be any cell coverage here, but the albergue has good WiFi. E-mail if you want to try Skype.
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[We had a Skype conversation about 6 p.m. Spanish time. The picture and sound were pretty sketchy. There had been a thunderstorm last night and it started to rain while Tom and I were talking, and the call dropped. He had gone outside to bring in his laundry, then he called back. He went up to the room where the five women were to spend the night. I think I got a glimpse of Rebecca, and then Tom got Jill into the picture. She put her feet up to the camera (probably showing me blisters or callouses), but the resolution was very poor. But those I saw seemed in good spirits. Jill asked for prayers for everyone’s sore feet.]

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Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Day 7 — Rest Day in Puenta la Reina

[Friday, June 20th]
Got up 7 am. Almost packed 7:50. Leave albergue 8:00. Mass 8:30 then cafe for breakfast.

Love, Tom
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We got crossed wires about Mass, because there was no Mass at 8:30. So we looked for cafes but none were open yet. So we hiked through town to the albergue Santiago Apostol. Turns out it is on top of a 100+ foot hill. (!!) If I had just hiked in from Pamplona I would probably have turned around and gone to one of the other two albergues. Anyway we arrived about 9:00 but they did not open until 12:00 noon.

Gail and Rosa stayed with our packs as the rest of us hiked back into town to get breakfast and then food for lunch. We got back to the albergue about 10:30 am. They opened early at 11:15 and we moved into our room.

We are resting now waiting for the pool to open, which is supposed to be at 1:00 pm.

Love, Tom
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Stork nest on church steeple:

140620 01 Stork nest church steeple
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Hiking through the street in the morning, Puenta la Reina:

140620 02 hiking thru street morning Puenta la Riena
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Gate and bridge crossing, Puenta la Reina:

140620 03 Gate n crossing bridge Puenta la Reina
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Rebecca and Kelsey, pool at albergue Santiago Apostol:

140620 04 Becca n Kelsey pool albergue Santiago Apostol
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[from Garin:]

Hey all! Last you heard was that we were in Valcarlos and intended to go to Roncesvalles the next day. That was a while ago. We have walked, by calculations, about 90 km [about 55 miles]. We walked 12km [about 7 miles] the first and second days, 22 [about 13] the third day from Roncesvalles to Zubiri… Then to Trinidad de Arre, then to Cizur Menor on the outskirts of Pamplona, and we are currently in Puerte de la Reina.

Since then, many blisters have come up on the feet and some have healed, but most haven´t yet. Today is a rest day. Muscles are sore, Rosa was unable to walk with us and others are near collapse. We chose to spend an extra night in Puente de la Reina and since pilgrims are not allowed to stay in the same albergue two nights, we chose another albergue with a pool and have been swimming and soaking our feet to relax the muscles and taking long siestas in the hope of recovering our strength to be able to walk further. The albergues are really nice: more than lukewarm water for showers, places to wash and dry clothes by hand (the Spanish heat takes care of the second part very nicely), and relatively comfortable beds unless you happen to get one that caves in in the middle of the mattress from excessive use. The downside is [that] the top bunks (which I usually sleep on) don’t have guardrails. I rolled off the topbunk last night, to find myself on my hands and knees six feet below where I should be, on the hard tile floor at 2 a.m.

Being a big enough group, most of the time we get a room or a corner to ourselves, but sometimes we get grumpy neighbors who don’t like noise. We haven’t really gotten in a really bad albergue yet. Nobody has gotten any bedbugs or anything like that. One might think that, since we are in Spain, we would be meeting a lot of foreigners, but no. We keep running in to Americans! In our albergue last night out of 20 or so pilgrims, only a handful weren’t from the U.S. It is so annoying at times. I know that I want to speak French with people and Kelsey and Becca want to speak Spanish but too many people know English and are not always patient as we attempt to articulate ourselves in their language.

Walking has been a great way to get time to think and pray. We have enjoyed talking to people in the albergues about our experiences of the day´s hike, or just sleeping. Everyone on the trail looks out for each other… Kelsey stopped one day to wait for the rest of the group and took off her boots to let her feet dry and 3 different people stopped and asked if everything was alright.

Our biggest struggle has been to be compatible with Spanish culture. They take a siesta from about 2 [p.m.] — [to] basically an undefined time –somewhere around 7-7:30 [p.m.-]ish, during which EVERYTHING closes down. Don´t try to get anything [done like] shopping/eating at restaraunts; during siesta time, nothing is open.

For pilgrims, the traditional Spanish breakfast of cafe con leche y pan [coffee with milk and bread] is insufficient to keep energy going. Arriving at the town at 2 or 3 [p.m.] means no food is available, so we have been eating lots of cold cut ham and blocks of cheese because that’s what’s available and can be carried without refrigeration or cooking. We are completely sick of this kind of food! The only relief we get from this food style is in the Pilgrim meals where they serve you tons of food (usually throughout multiple courses). The dinners are usually really good and are relatively cheap. We got a 5 course meal for 12 euros in Zubiri. It was so good! It was well worth the money and makes up for the calories that weren’t consumed previously during the day.

We attempt to go to Mass every day (some towns don’t have it or we missed the time), but a lot of times, the times of Mass and the times of restaurants being open for dinner and the time of our hopeful bedtime don’t line up, due to the Spanish siesta. Generally, no restaurants are open before 7:30 p.m. and generally Mass is at 7 or 8 p.m. We like to get to bed early so that we can wake up around 5:30 a.m. so that we can get out on the trail and get a lot of hiking done before the heat of the day. Another big issue is the fact that no windows have screens on them; they either let all the bugs in with the breeze or are closed.

The top of Alto de Perdon was AMAZING! We had a great view of the valley to either side of us despite the fact that the bugs up there were practically trying to eat us. While up there, we got pictures of Kelsey on Becca´s back, pointing her trekking pole at one of the many windmills while singing music from Man of La Mancha. The scenery has been beautiful and varied, though sometimes we don’t get enough time to look at it as we focus on not dying as we slide down the dry shale riverbed or rocky, dusty path that is the Camino. Most of the locals we have met are very friendly and willing to speak Spanish (or only speak Spanish) so Becca and Kelsey get enough practice.

We have enjoyed marveling at the 80-year-old women who walk the Camino like it´s nothing while we struggle along. The huge plus is that it’s not a race. No one cares where you came from, how early you left, how far you’re going, etc. What matters is that you made it to the albergue. A wave out here from a local farmer is more than saying hello, it is a sign of respect and admiration, both of which we have felt very often from people who run the albergues and from the other peregrinos.

One of the best parts of the day is arriving at the albergue and getting that stamp with the name of the albergue and the date. Our credenciales are starting to look impressive with all the stamps we are getting. And taking a shower, taking off the backpack and boots. And getting to explore the towns we are in. Trinidad de Arre was by far our favorite albergue. It was an old hospital, and we stayed in what we thought was a converted convent. It had its own chapel and a courtyard with a garden that was its own little paradise. The most amazing part to us is that so many of these spots are only accessible to peregrinos and we are lucky enough to be able to see them. And everything looked more beautiful after an 18 or 22km [11-13 mile] hike. And the food tastes better, too. We got to stay at an albergue run by the Knights of Malta, which was a history lesson in and of itself. Many albergues are old buildings with interesting architectural designs, even if they are sometimes cold at night. So far, no rain, and the weather has held out well as we have hiked. Now that we have gotten further from the Pyrenees, the heat has increased and pilgrims are more spread out on the trail, which is nice because otherwise it gets too cramped on the trail.

More later…say some prayers for our feet and muscles,
Los siete peregrinos,
Becca, Kelsey, Jill, Gail, Rosa, Tom and Garin

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Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Day 6 — Cizur Menor to Puenta la Reina

[Thursday, June 19th]

Dawn over Pamplona, as seen from Cizur Menor:

140619 01 Dawn over Pamplona

Our hospitaleros in Cizur Menor:

140619 02 Hospitaleros in Cizur Menor
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Today’s Plan:
Hike to Puente la Reina 18.7 km. [About 12 miles]
Stay at [albergue] Padres Reparadores.
Host says hike up to Alto de Perdon very gradual. Hike down very steep.

Love, Tom
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Hiking out of Cizur Menor up to Alto de Perdon:

140619 03 CM up to Alto de Perdon
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Poppy flower along trail:

140619 04 Poppy flower along trail
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Rebecca on the way to Alto de Perdon:

140619 05 Becca on the way to Alto de Perdon

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Here’s what I learned from a Skype call ending at 5:37 p.m. Spanish time:
Rebecca is in the best shape of the seven pilgrims. This is the first day her feet have hurt. “I’m the only one without physical ailments,” she said. I (Cathy) told her to appreciate it :). Tom looks well. They are going to Mass soon.
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[After arrival in Puenta la Reina:]
We like to go to daily mass, but there is a scheduling problem. No restaurant opens for dinner before 7:00 pm or usually 7:30 pm. Mass seems always to be at 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm. So there is no way to eat before mass unless we have our own food.

Only at Roncesvalles was there a pilgrim mass at 6:00 pm, which was perfect.

Today mass was at 8:00 pm, so about 6:30 pm we ate cheese, bread and fruit for a snack, plus some sodas or drinks from a vending machine in the albergue common area. The mass was in a church with a beautiful, elaborate altarpiece containing four levels of niches with statues of saints and all covered with gold. Then everyone else went out to a pilgrim dinner but I was not hungry so I went back to the albergue. My clothes were all dry except for my socks which were still a little damp.

Kelsey is a little disappointed in this albergue because it seems to be full of Americans. She thought she would be mixing with Spaniards or at least Europeans. Becca is having fun talking Spanish with the locals.

Tonight we can stay up later because we plan to get up tomorrow at 7:00 am in order to leave the albergue at 8:00 am, hike 50 meters to the church for 8:30 am mass, then go to a cafe for breakfast, and finally hike 300 meters or so to the albergue at the far end of town. Check in is supposed to be 11:00 am there. They have a pool.

Today was a tough day. We had breakfast of coffee and bread with butter and jam at the albergue, then started hiking about 7:05 am. It was a long hot hike to the top of the Alto de Perdon, where we ate a snack and took pictures. We had bought sandwiches at a store in a town on the way up [Zariquiegui]. We got to the top about 10:45 am.
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Alto de Perdon panorama (click to enlarge; back arrow to return):

140619 06 Alto de Perdon panorama
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Tom with pilgrim sculpture:

140619 09 Tom with pilgrim sculpture
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Coming down the other side was even more rough, because it was steep and the path was covered in fist-sized gravel, probably to prevent erosion. It was great when we finally got down and started hitting the last three towns before Puente la Reina. One of the towns had an albergue-cafe right on the Camino that looked really inviting and we probably would have stopped there if we hadn’t had Rosa waiting for us in Puente la Reina. We bought some sodas and ice cream bars at the cafe. That was about 1:30 pm.
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Sidewalk Camino marker in Obanos:

140619 07 Camino marker Obanos
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Tom through the pilgrim’s gate in Obanos:

140619 08 Tom pilgrim gate Obanos
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We finally got to our albergue in Puente la Reina about 3:20 pm. Everyone [was] peeling off shoes and socks and letting feet rest.

Love, Tom
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[Email exchange:]
Me (Cathy): How are Jill and Rosa?
Tom: Rosa took taxi here and reserved our places. Don’t know about her feet. Jill hiked with no pack and came in legs and feet totally pooped. Many people’s feet are sore. Current idea is to take a rest day tomorrow and check into a hotel in Puente la Reina so that people can rest their feet.
Me: Okay. Sounds good. How are you?
Tom: Tired. Sore feet. Blisters on inside side of big toe both feet.
Me: Hang in there!

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Day 5 — Trinidad de Arre via Pamplona to Cizur Menor

[June 18th, 2014]

[Tom:] I had an easier day [than yesterday]. We hiked only about 10 km today and there was not nearly as much uphill. But Rosa has bunions that are really hurting her when she walks and she will take a taxi tomorrow. She will also take Jill’s pack so Jill can walk without a load.

Today we slept in until 7 am. We left the albergue at 8 am and hiked to a cafe about three blocks away for breakfast:
140618 01 breakfast cafe

We left there about 45 minutes later and hiked to Pamplona. In Pamplona we first went to the statue of the running of the bulls and took photos [Pamplona, Spain, is famous for the Fiesta de San Fermines, in which six bulls are released daily from July 6-14, to run a course through the city through the plaza]:
140618 02 running bulls statue

[“The scallop shell, often found on the shores in Galicia, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago.” — Wikipedia. Here is a Camino marker in the Pamplona sidewalks:]
140618 03 Camino marker Pamplona

Hiking through a park in Pamplona:
140618 04 park in Pamplona

Then we went to Plaza del Castillo and seated ourselves at the Cafe Iruna, [where we relaxed with some iced lemonades…] It was about 11 am [and the weather was nice and mild] …. Jill, Gail and Rosa watched the backpacks while Becca and Garin went to explore the city. Kelsey and I went to visit the Cathedral. We regrouped at the cafe at 12:30 and then ordered lunch. We left about 1:30 on the hike to Cizur Menor, which is just over 5 km.

We got to Cizur Menor at about 3 pm and found beds in the Orden de Malta [Order of Malta] albergue. It is really nice and the volunteer hospitaleros are super friendly. [Pamplona from our albergue in Cizur Menor:]
140618 05 Pamplona from Cizur Menor

Placard on our albergue in Cizur Menor “Order of Malta Hospital Foundation”:
140618 06 placard at CM albergue

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Day 4 — Zubiri to Trinidad de Arre

[June 17th, 2014]
Start hiking 6:35.
Stopped at cafe for breakfast 6:40.
[We will hike] to Trinidad de Arre just short of Pamplona. [from Tom]
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10:25 taking break at cafe at Zuriain. Tending to some people’s feet —
Kelsey taking a picture of Jill, Gail, and Rosa’s feet.[from Tom]
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Break turned into lunch break. Everybody is relaxing. [from Tom]
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140617 to Trinidad de Arre Zuriain cafe
Becca seated and other members of our group. Packs on left. [from Tom]
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Pilgrim hiking statue at cafe Pasada due Zuriain.
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Arrived Trinidad de Arre:

This town usually just called “Arre” on the Camino hiking signs.

We left the albergue in Zubiri about 6:35 and hiked down the street about 200 feet to a cafe that advertised “pilgrim breakfast opens 6 am.” I had a cafe con leche and a tortilla con jamon y queso. The tortilla is a potato and egg “pancake” about 3/4 inch thick and for “jamon y queso” they slice it in half and put in ham and cheese and bake it a little until the cheese melts. Yummy.

We left the cafe about 7:30 am. Becca took my picture as we were getting started. [Picture below]
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Today we made the procedure of setting a join-up point about 5 km ahead and letting everyone hike at their own pace. I stayed back with Jill to make sure she did not get into any trouble. Becca and Garin would hike way in front. The first point was Larraosoana, then Zubiri. When Jill and I (and Kelsey and Rosa) came over the bridge into Zubiri, we found Becca, Garin and Gail ensconced at a cafe right on the water after the bridge. The cafe was called “Pasada de Zubiri” which means Stopping Place of Zubiri. Our break turned into a lunch break. Gail, Rosa and Jill tended to their feet. It was a really nice place. We spent about an hour there, from 10:30 to 11:30.

Jill switched to sandals for hiking, so we set the next point to the bridge at Antxoritz only 1 km away. Then the bridge after Irotz, then the picnic area after Zabaldica.
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Wheat field with Zabaldica in background:
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Then we set the join-up point to Arre and told Becca and Garin to see if they could check all seven of us into the Hermanos Maristas albergue which is just after the bridge.

That is where we are now. It is a wonderful place. There is a courtyard, an oratory (small chapel), a kitchen, living room, bathrooms, showers, along with the dormitories.

We got here about 2 pm. I have showered, washed my clothes, and hung them on the clothesline to dry. People are checking out arrangements for dinner. There is a nearby mass at 7:30 pm after which we will go to sleep.

Tomorrow’s plan is to hike into Pamplona and explore the city for several hours before hiking on to Cizur Menor. That will give us less than 10 km hiking, so it will be an easy day. Jill, Gail and Rosa plan to find some nice place to sit and rest and guard the packs while others explore Pamplona.

Love, Tom
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Email exchange:
Me: Is Jill okay? Are her feet hurting a lot? Love, C
Tom: Well, her feet are hurting, but so far she is dealing with it.

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