Rocky Road (and I’m not talk’n ice cream)

(Day 5: 24km)
Pamplona – Puente la Reina

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Young entrepreneur, and eventual millionaire, Nicolas.

The best part about today was stopping; a random lemonade stand in the middle of a steep hill climb; and the refreshing shower (we were able to have a “un-interrupted” shower as in it ran until we turned it off, and at the temperature we wanted).  The views were beautiful, but the walk was brutal.  The sun was hot and we used our umbrellas to the amusement and envy of most of the pelegrinos that passed us, and we passed as well.  Seeing that I was extremely tired and therefore super grouchy, I walked alone for most of the day so as not to snap and say things I regret.  The night was rough for me in that I had very little sleep, and not much of it was refreshing. I awoke around midnight to the sound of what I thought was “mooing” (something about dreaming of walking by a pasture and chocolate milk), but quickly realized that it was a symphony of snoring. I ended up retreating to the albergue’s couch (that was one foot too short) for a bit of “sleep” as my earplugs were no match for the snorefest.

Anyhoo, back to today’s trek.
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We tread through the city of Pamplona that is just starting to wake. The trail outside of Pamplona was rock filled and climbed toward the ridgeline pocked with white winged windmills.
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Our destination was to the famed “monument pelegrino”, with the iron figures bracing against the wind. Reaching the top is exhilarating, then anticlimactic once you see the “roach coach” perched atop the peak and several other cars. WTF?! You can drive here? Now how is that special?

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A futile attempt to move the rocks off the trail

As with all steep ups, it is usually followed by a steep down over rolly rocks of bedrock and marble size.

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Not mich difference between the trail and the farmland

Even the farmland is teaming with rocks. Maybe they are cultivating them? This would explain the fact that most of the buildings are made of stone…they are so plentiful. We wander through quaint medieval towns perfectly kept and manicured, yet seemingly devoid of humans. (They take Siesta time very seriously here)

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An ancient Camino marker tells us we are headed in the right direction

It feels like we are in an episode of Walking Dead, and we are the “walkers” as we shuffle through town moaning about our feet, the heat, or the last hill. Each town we pass through is perched on a hill of sorts, with a church in the center that is generally located upon its’ highest point.
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Fountains disperse fresh cool water. We are tempted to stop and soak our feet, but then are fearful we will not get going again. We finally wander into Puente de la Reina, and check into our albergue.

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View out our "dorm" window

A bar next door (that is open…it is still siesta time) with refreshing beer beckons. A quick (Ok, not so quick) shower, a short wander to a farmacie for a resupply of vitamin I (ibuprofen) and we are seated at an outdoor cafe sipping nectar of the gods (beer) recapping the days events, which were uneventful in themselves, but memorable all the same due to some inside jokes that just don’t/won’t translate well to others. We find a pelegrino dinner for 10€ and eat beyond our stomach’s contentment.

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Pelegrino dinners are 3 courses and always include desert in which flan is always and option.

After dinner I, and several other pelegrinos, walk down to take a peak at the puente de la Reina, of picture fame.
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It was built in the 1200’s specifically for the pelegrinos for safe passage over the Arga river. Once back at the albergue, I work on the blog a bit and have a nice conversation with a German woman we have been seeing with regularity on the trail, before heading off to bed. She is happy to converse in her native tongue, and I am happy to brush up on my German.

Buen Camino!

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