Cizur Menor (via Pamplona) to Puente La Reina – 22kms
My chest infection flared up badly overnight and thinking I needed to look after myself to make it to the end, I made the difficult decision of catching a taxi a couple of kms up to Cizur Menor so that I could at least be cheered by walking with BC.
The challenge though, was finding a taxi in the early hours to meet BC who was needing to be out of her Albergue by 7:30.
I’d been wandering around and there wasn’t a soul to be seen anywhere. Finally, I stumbled upon a bakery that had some people waiting outside as it was opening up and using Google translate (love this App!), I asked them if they could call me a taxi.
Despite numerous attempts, it wasn’t working and I was feeling so sick at this point, I was close to tears, but they pulled a lady from the store who spoke English to help me.
She explained that often the taxis didn’t answer the phone, but finally, she managed to organise one. The people who had tried to help all waited to see me into the taxi and the shop keeper handed me a pastry for my journey. When it arrived, they cheered and I hugged the shopkeeper. It was such a lovely experience that I wouldn’t have had if not for choosing to catch that taxi, so it was a nice reminder to go with what feels right.
After a hair raising taxi trip, I met BC in pouring rain. By the time I pulled out my raincoat and wrapped my pack, the rain of course stopped.
It was another steep climb day up to the wind turbines, so stopping briefly in Zariquiegui and lighting a candle in the church of St Andrew before stopping for Cafe con Leche and food felt like a must.
I was doing okay before the incline, but it was brutal on my chest, so just had to have very slow steps.
Along the way, I chatted to a woman who was suffering with her knees and towards the top I stopped to speak to a young man from Korea who was sitting under a tree in tears.
He had a bike, but he was having issues with his knees too, causing him to have to turn back. He was crying, feeling like he was giving up. I said looking after himself was very brave, not giving up. He thanked me and soon went on his way.
Finally, I popped up at the top and… collapsed. After sucking a Gatorade dry in 30secs, we got the obligatory picture at the wrought iron sculpture of the pilgrims through the ages.
I’d been looking forward to get to this part and record how loud the turbines were as we walked by them, but the humidity was close to 90% and there wasn’t a breath of wind, so they stayed completely silent.
The thing is, when you go up, you seem to have to go down and it is the down that is the real killer because of the bloody loose stones.
By Obanos, the village before Puente la Reina, I was really struggling. My feet felt like if someone poked them, they would explode.
We stopped on a park bench so I could rest them and change into my sandals. I was so hoping for a cold bottle of coke too, but the entire village was like a ghost town for siesta. Even the shutters were pulled down on the houses. It was like those old Westerns where everyone is hidden and you see a single tumbleweed bounce along the ground.
Puenta la Reina was just 2kms away, but it still felt like 20kms. Thunderstorms were happening overhead, so we were trying to get there before it hit. We just hit the edge of town when it opened up, but found shelter until it passed.
I was shuffling like a 100 year old woman by now, so it was a relief to finally reach our accommodation for the night.
I was delighted to see Tom there and to hear that Irish was staying there too. I hadn’t seen her since Orisson.
After a lovely communal dinner, I packed my bag and happily went off to bed.
Another long, tough day, but 10% done already.