We woke up today knowing two things: it was going to be a sunny day but we were also going to climb up a big-ass hill. Again we got up at 6:30am, had another satisfying breakfast of jam and toast with the added bonus of hot chocolate. By 7:30am we were on our way at which point the sky was already beginning to light up. The first 15 minutes took us through the town of Pamplona and the following hour was along a concrete footpath alongside the main roads. We couldn’t wait to get away from all the cars so we stormed through the first part as we quickly as we could.
Eventually we hit a desert-like region; barren land but with rolling hills in the distance. As we started to approach our first town , the wind steadily picked up causing our hands to freeze so with a few swift actions we grabbed our weatherproof gloves and were on our way. Not long after leaving that town we slowly got view of that big-ass hill I mentioned earlier. As a way to distract myself from the steep incline, I kept my head down and decided to count as many rocks larger than a 50 cent coin as I could. By about 300 I heard the clank of walking poles coming quickly up behind me and embarrassingly it was the Catalanian grandmas striding past. They seemed very please with themselves passing someone just under a third of their age. One of the ladies demonstrated their special technique of conquering the ascents which involved repetitively counting to four whilst walking up in an ‘S’ pattern. I tried it out and it actually did me wonders; walking that way meant that I wasn’t walking as steep a slope therefore had much more energy to go faster.
After about 90 minutes of walking up different grades of inclines we eventually reached the peak which had the famous pilgrims monument at the top (as seen in ‘The Way’ movie). Unfortunately as the wind was quite angry at this point we needed to make our way down as quickly as possible. This path was full of loose stones and is notorious for being the location where many pilgrims take their first tumble. Knowing this, we were extra cautious and managed to get down safely.
The last 3 hours of our journey surprisingly took us through some very modern towns full of huge houses but empty of humans (due to siesta). By 2.15pm we arrived at our Albergue and could not wait to take off our shoes.
We decided to head out for some more Pinxtos in the main square and were eventually joined by a group of around 15 pilgrims. There must have been at least 8 countries represented in our group, a great mix of people.
Total cost for today
– Breakfast: €2.50 jam and toast
– Lunch: €2.50
– Dinner: €7 pinxtos and microwaved stew
– Snacks: €0.50 Apples
– Accommodation: €5
Total cost per person: €17.50
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo