Did you know everything is made from corn?
Day 5 on the camino and its time for more hiking. Today was 27km from Pamplona to Puente La Reina (via Eunate) with a little 790m climb to the top of Alto del Perdon. The top of the Alto is lined with windmills and once we reached the top it was obvious why, freezing and very very windy! A Spanish man was at the top of the Alto selling cool drinks and packets of chips. Whilst my fingers went blue holding the can the Coke went down well.
Our group walks at very different speeds with 4 walking like their in a rush and Frank and I walking much slower and stopping to take in the sights. So, I spend much time hiking with my new Dutch friend who likes to sing as we hike...Snow White and the 7 Dwarves has had a good workout...i really should not have shared that one with him :)
The hike down the Alto was almost harder than the hike up. The steep decents are a killer on the knees. I´m thankful for my staff that i picked up in St Jean (i hope customs will let me keep it, i dont think i could hide it in my backpack).
We all detoured off the main route to visit a little church in Eunate, a 12thC Romanesque Church with strong links to the Knights Templer. It has an amazing octagonal shape and I would have loved to have gone inside, unfortunatly the Spanish siesta seems to get in our way quite often.
In Puente la Reina we stayed at the monestary run by the Padres Repardores. I went exploring and found myself caught in a downpour so ducked for cover in a little church called Iglesia del Crucifijo, the church was no bigger than 20m x 20m but had a huge crucification in it. The stone walls gave the church a very somber and cold atmosphere. For dinner, the only place offering a pilgrims menu was an australian/irish pub...they didnt like me telling them that we dont drink Fosters...
Day 5 camino injuries: original blister. Dislocated shoulder is doing much better.
Day 6 on the camino we hiked 22km from Puente La Reina to Estella. Though i could very easily have stopped 10km earlier in a beautiful village called Cirauqui. Hiking with others means we all make compromises, i enjoy the company but i do miss the freedom of being able to stop whenever i feel. Today was a beautiful day, blue sky and sun, i even have a slight sun burn. We hiked through olive groves and vineyards, barley grass meadows and forests. My main highlight today was a detour Frank and I made to the ermit de San Miguel arcangel, ancient ruins of St Michael Church. Built in 1065 I believe it is the oldest building I have found. Previous peregrinos had left notes of blessings and so i wrote a note of my own and left in on the long unused alter.
Estella is a beautiful city of 15,000. I left the others to write in their journals and headed out exploring. Today i have hiked with Germans but this evening i sit and drink with another Dutch man. He only has 2 more days of hiking, having previously completed the camino. He has given me tips on where to stay along the way.
Day 6 camino injuries: original blister, swollen little toe and big mofo blister on side of foot - all on my right foot which now looks like a minefield of pockmarked blisters (i popped them all and have plastered them over). Shoulders doing well. Right knee a little sore and sorry but i would say only because i´ve been over compensating for my foot. Mindset - on course and looking forward to tomorrow!