Day 3 – Pamplona to Puente la Reina – 23 km

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Leaving Pamplona was a little sad as I have truly fallen in love with this city, where old city meets the new city.

The San Fermin will be taking place from 6 to 14 July and the temptation to return by bus for one day to experience the bull run is tickling my brain a little.  Hmmm – will have to see how things are going at the time and how far I am on the walk.

It was incredible difficult to find the right camino markings this morning and we took a wrong road, luckily not too far off track!  A lady came speeding up to us on her bike and kindly directed us on “The Way”  – thank heavens, who knows where we would have ended up.   Typically, markings are at every place where the path forks. Well, in the city of Pamplona, that´s every block – so no wonder we got lost.

Wind turbines

Once the sun had risen, we could see what was ahead…a 300 m climb to a ridge which had dozens of wind turbines visible from Pamplona. Ugh…more climbing. We stopped off for breakfast before we commenced with the steep climb.  Trying to get scrambled eggs in Spain is impossible – everything is an omelete with potato pieces in it.  (Not for my stomach first thing in the morning).  We eventually thought we had crystal clearly explained to the owner of the bar in Cizur Menor what scrambled eggs were by googling the direct translation – so proud of ourselves Shereez and I sat waiting in anticipation! Guess what…………..we were served two very oily fried eggs.  (aarrghh dam).  The owner really took a liking to both of us and kindly gave us each a lollipop  for the walk ahead – how schweet of him.   The walk was gruelling to say the least and my most challenging day out of the 3 thus far!

Hill of forgiveness - Alto del Pedron

Hill of forgiveness – Alto del Pedron

At the top of the ridge the view was AWESOME!!  The Alto de Pedron, steel art display was incredible and as beautiful as I remember it to be when I first saw it in the movie “The Way”!!  The descent was treacherous and painful on the feet given the pitch and the rocky path.  We made it to Uterga and wished I could wash my aching feet in cold water and put on some clean and dry socks. On the El Camino, sometimes it´s the simple things that make everything better.  We walked on to Puente la Reina, where we are staying in a private  Albergue run by a family who were so friendly and helpful even though the language barrier was there.   It was clean, had a swimming pool, internet, washing machines and tumble dryers and the room we landed up in had 12 beds and there were only 6 of us in the room that night.   We met some lovely interesting people and had long chats before we retired for the night.  Angie, Jess and Sabrina as well as Vicky our room mates for the night are all originally from South Africa – how odd that we all landed up in the same room.  They all live in Seattle (USA) now.

Private Albergue just over the bridge in Puente la Reina

Private Albergue just over the bridge in Puente la Reina

Both Shereez’s and my feet are taking strain beyond comprehension.  The physical pain is daunting and one wonders how one´s feet will heal with the constant walking.  Today our CAMINO Angel, Marcus found us and taught us a lot about how to tend to our blisters and aching feet.  We also got some lessons on how to use our walking sticks properly which made a huge difference to the weight our knees were carrying.   Marcus is from Switzerland, married  with three children and walking the CAMINO while he has the time between job decisions.  He has truly been a blessing in both of our lives and we are both so very grateful for the guidance he has given us.

Marcus and Shereez

Marcus and Shereez

Some of the reasons we have heard from fellow pilgrims on why they are walking the camino include:-

69 year old chap who divorced his wife – sold all his assets and is walking the camino to discover what next.

The three brothers, ages 16, 18 and 20 who received this journey as a gift from their dad as they are soon all going their seperate ways.

Most pilgrims seem to be between job choices or trying to find something deep within.

Interesting people we have met thus far include:-

Joke who has walked from the Netherlands, 2000 km and still going strong.  The night in Zubiri she kindly gave up her bed and slept on the floor for a friend who arrived late and all Albergues were full.

Leah who has walked from Paris, 900 km and still going strong.

…and there is Francesca, the CAMINO guru who is embarking on his 5th CAMINO and calls Shereez the rare one due to her uncommon name, and myself as the common one due to my common name.  WTF I never been called common in my life before however I know he means it well.

We both brought along African beaded bangles to hand out to special people we meet on the CAMINO and this has become such a hit amongst the pilgrims and in some cases they are out looking for these two South Africans to get a beaded bracelet.

Our feet are no better and the blisters continue to hamper our walking, however on we walk!!

Some pics of the scenery today:-

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