Category Archives: NAVARRA

Arres to Sangüesa

Day 6 Fri 28 Mar
Arrés to Artieda – 18 klms – very dreary, wondering why we are here. Walking mostly on boring secondary roads, we saw 1 pilgrim on a bike, 2 farmers, 2 cars & 4 dogs in 5 hours! Artieda is another small (pop 120) hilltop village, cold and windy today.

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Artieda, cold and windy

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Artieda Romanesque Church

 

Day 7 Sat 29 Mar
This morning all was well in the world and at 22 klms our longest day so far. We walked along a delicious centuries old footpath until Ruesta suddenly appeared.  It is a crumbling abandoned village, once a medieval fort, now has a bar and an Albergue amongst the ruins. From there on mostly up hill until we descended an old Roman road to arrive at the village of Undués de Lerda with its brand new centrally heated Albergue, luxury!

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Along a delicious path to ...

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... crumbling Ruesta, abandoned in 1959

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Descending a Roman road to Undués

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Undués de Lerda

 

Day 8 Sun 30 Mar
On to Sangüesa, a town of 5,000 and now in Basque Navarre, only 10 klms.  It was Sunday so the bars had tables out in the street – looks like a tapas crawl tonight. Sunday morning is churros day too, we cannot resist.

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Sangüesa

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Sunday morning = Chocolate con churros

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Door of the Sangüesa Cathedral

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Now in Navarra, Basque tapas and wine, a must!

Sangüesa to Puente la Reina

Day 9 Mon 31 Mar
For the first time we left without wearing our GoreTex. The sun was out and soon we were warm enough to be out of our pullovers too. The 18 kilometers to Izco pleasant walking, although two long hills and some muddy patches slowed us down.  There is no restaurant in Izco, but a small store in the Albergue had enough for us to cook our own. Just as we thought we had the place to ourselves, in came a Polish man who was walking the Way backwards to France. We shared our meal and he bought the wine, nice.

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Crosses mark boundaries

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All that remains of a medieval fort near Izco

 

Day 10 Tue 01 Apr
Izco to Tiebas, 22 kilometers, passing thru Monreal. The day started out fine – the wildflowers, bright blue and yellow just starting to bloom. Then the rollercoaster on a rough track wore us out. We arrived in Tiebas exhausted, but got a room in a lovely Albergue with a view of Pamplona and had the best meal, typical Basque country style, in the bar across the road.

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Crossing the medieval bridge into Monreal

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Monreal

 

Day 11Wed 02 Apr
From Tiebas, an easy 17 kilometers to Puente la Reina, easy because there were small villages every 30 minutes or so – time seems to go quicker. Stopping in a bar for a coffee, we saw the locals eating fried eggs and ham (with wine) so we had that too (without wine). We walked on, passing the mysterious Temple of Eunate, origin unknown, to arrive at Puente la Reina and after walking about 180 kilometers, the end of the Camino Aragonés.

Here we caught a bus to Pamplona and a taxi to Roncesvalles to start again on the Camino Francés.

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Lovely spring day walking to Puente la Reina

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Mysterious temple at Eunate, origins unkown

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Óbanas, only 3 kilometers to go

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Arriving at Puente la Reina

Roncesvalles to Pamplona

Day 12 Thu 03 Apr
The old (1753) Roncesvalles monastery has now been partly converted to a luxury hotel and we spent the night there – in stark contrast to 2001 when we slept in a cold dark dorm in the same place.  We set out on a cold wet morning with a dozen or so other pilgrims. Today’s path, mostly along good forest paths, was such a delight that we imagined we could walk forever, well at least the 22 kilometers to Zubiri!

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Roncesvalles Monastery has seen some changes since 1753

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Leaving Roncesvalles in the cold wet morning

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Path from Roncesvalles to Zubiri

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Typical Pyrenees house

Day 13 Fri 04 Apr
Another nice day’s walking – although it rained for most of the morning.  It’s 21 kilometers to Pamplona and Pam’s blisters are giving her problems.  Today is PUENTE (Bridge) DAY as we cross half a dozen beautiful medieval bridges, resting at each.

Pamplona is having it’s annual Pintxo (Basque tapas) festival and every bar is trying out do the others – we tasted 10 different tapas, with mature local red wines.  Tapas have come a long way since they were just slices of bread put on top of the wine glasses in order to keep the flies out!

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Puente 1

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Puente 2

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Puente 3

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Puente 4

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Puente into Pamplona

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Want to study agriculture? This is the school

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Path into Pamplona

 
Day 14 Sat 05 Apr
A day off walking, but not eating, in Pamplona.  A bit of sightseeing, following the path of the running of the bulls (bulls day off) until we chanced upon churros (fried sweet dough) and chocolate.  Then it was time to increase stomach capacity with a fine Basque lunch – our best meal yet.

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Pamplona's city hall

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Pintxos and vino

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Pamplona street

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Pamplona's main plaza on a Sunday afternoon


 

Pamplona to Lorca

Day15 Sun 06 Apr
On a beautiful sunny day, cold in the morning & warm in the afternoon, our longest day – 25 kilometers to Puente la Reina seemed easy going, even the climb up to Alto del Perdón (735m).  Today was VISTA DAY, views forever.
Puente la Reina (Queen’s Bridge) – many years ago the ferymen were ripping off pilgrims to row them across the Arga, so the Queen built a bridge for the pilgrims. It is the most beautiful in Spain.

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Ruins along the Way

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Looking back towards Pamplona

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Altp del Perdón

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Storks nesting Puente la Reina

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Puente la Reina

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The famous bridge at Puente la Reina

 
Day 16 Mon 07 Apr
Another beautiful day for the short walk (14 kilometers) to Lorca.  Today is ROMAN DAY with old roads to walk and bridges to cross.  You could almost hear ancient footsteps. We paused in the village of Cirauqui, one of our favorites. We stayed in the Albergue at Lorca, owned by the friendly and hyperactive José Ramón and his Korean wife whom he met doing the Camino in 2010.

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Head down & bum up on a steep climb after Puente la Reina

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Housing boom and bust - unfinished & abandoned houses

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Our favorite village - Cirauqui

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The area is famous for its magnificent coats of arms

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Cirauqui church, weeds growing in the cracks


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Roman road - wonderful to look at, not so wonderful to walk on

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Pilgrim crossing the roman bridge

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Not another medieval bridge!

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Classic Romanesque church at Lorca

Lorca to Viana

Day 17 Tue 08 Apr
A short day, 8 kilometers to Estella, to arrive early. We like Estella, its streets curved to follow the fast flowing stream cutting it in two. Short history – over 1,000 years ago, Estella was established half way between Puente la Reina and Los Arcos to provide overnight shelter for pilgrims to Santiago. It prospered and today numerous buildings of that era remain. We lunched at an excellent restaurant featuring typical local food. Pam went for lamb chilindrón (lamb, red peppers, onion & garlic); and for me the chicken in apple juice sauce – both cooked on a wood fire.

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Remote chapel of San Miguel

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Church of the Holy Sepulchre approaching Estella ...

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... features intricate 14 th century carvings of the Deciples

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Reconstructed in 1973, blown up in 1873

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One of three large monasteries in Estella

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Baroque former City Hall, Estella

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Palace of Navarra kings, Romanesque topped by 17th century brickwork

Day 18 Wed 09 Apr
Departing at 0800, we easily made opening time at the free pilgrim’s wine fountain at Irache, a few kilometers out of Estella. Properly strengthened for the 19 kilometers more to Los Arcos, we took the low path, passing through a couple of nice villages. Perfect weather, nice walking.

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Irache Monastery

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Fortifying ourselves at the Irache wine fountain

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Moorish water cistern

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Great idea - wayside coffee stall

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This way

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Los Arcos

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Casa de la Abuela (Grandma's House)

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Wine from the village (Los Arcos) - nice!

Day 19 Thu 10 Apr
After a good nights sleep at the best place on the entire Camino, Casa de la Abuela (Grandma’s House), we set off energized and made good time to Torres del Rio. After eating a delicious, but huge, apple pastry for breakfast it felt like lead in the boots for the following climb. Still, good weather and good walking, 19 kilometers to Viana – a lovely old town atop a hill. Next – La Rioja.

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All the pilgrims, two by two

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Torres del Rio

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Torres del Rio church

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This part of Navarra is studded with old stone refuges

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Viana Cathedral

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Entrance, Viana Catedral