Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 4: Pamplona - Puente la reina (26.5 kms) via Eunate

Pamplona, famed for the running of the bulls, is a really beautiful city and hopefully I can come back and visit longer next time. I walk a little bit around the city, visiting the places I had passed, and hoping to find the eyeglasses I had lost last night.  I go inside the churros place I had eaten in the night before, hoping to find it there. It is not, but the owner, who had herself walked the Camino in her youth, is there, wishes me Buen Camino and gives me a caramel-filled churros.  Para energia --  "for energy", she says.  It is very good together with the 1.15 euro espresso I get at one of the many cafes in Pamplona.

The camino signs leading out of the city are very clear -- little round metal plates with the conch shell sign on the ground.  Right after the city and after Cizur Menor, comes a long gradual uphill on a path passing Zariquiegui and leading up to Alto de Perdon at 800 meters.

At the highest point is a really inspiring metal sculpture depicting pilgrims on foot or horseback with the sign "donde se cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas" or in English "where the path of the wind crosses that of the stars". From the marker there, the piece is by Navarrese sculptor Vicente Galbete and "represents the evolution of the Pilgrim's Way throughout history in the form of a procession of pilgrims from different eras".  It also says here that there are only 700 kms/437 miles left till Santiago de Compostela.

The El Perdon wind farm,  here atop these mountain ranges, existed since 1996 with 40 turbines, each 40 meters high with 20 meter blades.

I meet a smiling Danish girl, Lisbeth, who has just started her Camino in Pamplona.  We walk and chat going down the path -- time flies by as we find a lot of things to talk about.  We first reach Uterga then later Murazabal.  It starts drizzling and this pitter-pattering rain just continues on and on. We part ways as I want to go to Eunate, a 5 kilometer detour,  to see the church Santa Maria de Eunate.  However it is closed and opens only for Holy Week.  I take some photos of the church then proceed on to Obanos, and finally tackle the last stretch to Puenta la Reina, where I check in at the albergue Padres Reparadores. The rain-drizzle has not stopped -- this is what  the Basque call tsirimiri, according to a bike-riding pilgrim I meet who comes from this region.

Dinner is a meal prepared by 3 South Koreans I meet here at the albergue. I was buying some food at the grocery and they invite me to just join them as they are cooking rice. Rice!  Hot, steaming white rice!  How could I say no.  It is the best meal I have since starting the Camino -- rice, tuna, egg, some salt, and spicy instant noodles.  My kind of food. They are 3 long time friends now living in 3 different countries who set aside 30 days to do the Camino together. How cool is that!  I think how great it would also be if my 3 dear friends could come with me to do this trip.

The kind Señora who gave me a caramel churros - yummy!  Don't forget to stop by her churros place in Pamplona -- El Churrero de Lerin in Calle Estafeta, 5

Looking back at Pamplona from the trail

Almost at the top of Alto de Perdon pass

The El Perdon Wind Farm, 40 turbines, each 40 meters high, with 20 meter blades

At Alto de Perdon, altitude: 746 meters

At Alto de Perdon: Seoul: 9,700 kms, Santiago de Compostela: 550, Sydney: 17,500, NY: 5,800, Berlin:1,600

Church at Eunate

Church at Obanos

Dorm Room at the Albergue Padres Reparadores

A super dinner with Los Tres Amigos: Edison, Jay and Tong from Seoul, NY, Melbourne!  I wonder if I'll ever meet them again?

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