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El Camino: Day 5 (Puente la Reina to Estella)

Posted on 18 September 2012 by christie

Puente de la Reina Bridge

Puente de la Reina Bridge

The weather forecast was grim with predictions of midday rain. Therefore, we left Puente de Reina early this morning. The Calle Mayor led us past the St. Mary’s Cathedral and over the Puente la Reina Bridge out of town. The steep ascent to Maneru began immediately. Five tough kilometers later we crossed the town through Calle Forzosa.

The change in the terrain became clear as we strolled through vineyards, olive trees and farmland for the next three kilometers. We approached the old hilltop village of Cirauqui. We could have easily gotten lost in the medieval labyrinth if not for the clear Camino shell markings leading the way. Upon descending from the village we found more sweeping views of the Navarran countryside, as well as a passage over an old Roman bridge. Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 4 (Pamplona to Puente la Reina)

Posted on 17 September 2012 by christie

Pamplona Tapas Bars

Exploring the Tapas Bars in Pamplona

The streets of Pamplona offer many opportunities for exploring tapas bars. We enjoyed a fun evening sampling Narvarrean wine and the local cuisine on Calle San Nicolas and Calle de la Estefeta (running of the bulls passage to the Plaza de Toros). Most of Pamplona’s sites are concentrated in a small radius, thus we were able to circle the main churches and tiny streets several times. Our hotel Maisonne was a luxurious dream. It made our decision easy to sleep in and start the Camino late the following morning. Brett’s knee was clicking and quite painful when walking, therefore he decided to hire one of the bag services to transport his backpack to our next hotel in Puente de la Reina. The cost was a mere seven euro.

Serenity of Walking the Camino

Serenity of walking the Camino

Today, our walk began quite late at 10:30 AM. The Camino led us through the other side of Pamplona across the grounds of the Universidad de Navarra and into a small village called Cizur Menor. We stopped at the Order of Malta (Albergue Sanjuanita) which has been a base for the Knights Hospitaliers since the 12th century. It’s situated on a hill beside a beautiful 13th century Romanesque church fortress (Iglesia de San Miguel Arcangelo). Upon entering the church, I noticed several knight’s flags hanging from the rafters. The Albergue was closed; however I asked politely in Spanish for a “sello”, and the woman kindly stamped our Camino credential. She also gave us tips for the upcoming rough 350m ascend and 250m descend over the next 12 kilometers. Continue Reading

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