Jan 4, 2013 Puente La Reina: Camino angel with pitchfork
We enjoyed another night in Pamplona, marveling at the energy of the nighttime crowds that keep the city pulsing well into the early morning hours. But, we were good pilgrims and managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Today, we set off under clear skies, and temperatures right around 30F. We made our way through the now quiet streets as the city was just cracking an eye open to a new day. Robin and I made good time to Cizur Menor where we stopped for coffee before continuing on to Alto Del Perdon, our steepest climb of the day. As we made our way up the flank of the Alto we ran into a cyclist who said there was a less muddy path to the top that joined up with the Camino path at the summit. We took the bait and wound up staring at a plowed field with ankle deep mud. We should have turned back, but didn't. The Camino path was just visible about 150 yards away. We decided to cross the field to get to it. Big mistake, the death march had just begun. It did not take very long for our boots to pick up about ten pounds of mud. We were trying to scrape it off, but it was pointless for as soon as a foot hit the ground it was packed with mud once again. Yes, we were frustrated, yes we were angry at our own stupidity, and yes all we could do was carry on. But, once back on dry land, and up to the summit the beauty of the the day, and the spectacular panoramic view, carried the day and there was peace in the valley once again.
The balance of the day was spent walking in afternoon temperatures that rose to 65-70 F. This is supposed to be winter, but no one was complaining. We were walking better today and easily made our up and down, in and out of the villages linked by the Camino. Lengthening shadows, and tired legs were our companions as we walked into Puente La Reina, and checked into the albergue run by the Padres Reparadores. The entire crew from Roncesvalles is here along with a new pilgrim from Korea, bringing our total to ten. Today, absent the Death March, was as picture perfect a Camino day as anyone could wish for.