Day 5 Cizur Menor to Maneru

I am hoping you are all looking at the maps I downloaded at the beginning so you have some idea where I am.

I am writing this sitting in the full sun with a glass of rose and a good old packet of plain chips. Need the salt. 

Perfect day for walking today.  Not too hot not too cold and the sun was shining.  

Walked over a few mountains today and it is all very well that I say that but it is a very long continual walk uphill and then you have to manoeuvre coming down the other side as it is sometimes steeper that going up.  There are a lot of loose rocks and very slippery.   Thank goodness for walking poles as they really help to steady and take the weight off as you walk up and down.  

I am still amazed by the amount of people that get up at 5am in the pitch dark and set off.  They would be walking in total darkness for at least 2.5 hrs as the sun isn’t up until about 7.30.  I have made the decision to not walk in the dark.  What is the point.  You can’t see anything.  

So I set off from Cizur Menor this morning at about 7.20 and walked up a mountain.  Have a routine now.  Start walking for approximately an hour or so until I come to a little cafe/bar and have coffee and tortilla actually I lie I have tea and a tortilla which as I said before is actually a slice of frittata. 


Then walk for another couple of hours and stop for cafe con leche and a pastry then keep walking and stop somewhere along the track and have an apple and once I get to my destination I shower rinse out clothes and go to a bar for either a sangria or rose and blog then go back to my albergue for my pilgrim dinner and go to bed.   

I have met so many wonderful people on this journey. 

So today was great because the countryside has changed and we are now walking around the side of mountains with incredible views and a lot of farming areas that have been ploughed 


What I loved today is the top of the mountains are covered in windmills.  They are amazing. 


And the best part when we got to the top of the mountain there were all the iron statues of the pilgrims which I am sure you all saw in The Way


I have been travelling with a few people so we had to have a group photo. 


The nationalities are Canadian Americans Australian Brazilian and so it goes on. 

So as I said before quite different country today.  Very open and lots of big paddocks that had been ploughed.  Very steep mountains to climb down and just breathtaking.  I had to stop taking photos or I wouldn’t have gotten very far today. 

Here are a few



It was a big day today and feel I totally have my stride now.  I am not staying at the towns suggested on my maps as I get to most of these places by 11.30ish and feel I could keep walking. So I do.  

The villages I pass through are so gorgeous and the people so lovely.  As I have said before there is no way you can get lost.  Some more signage on the way today 


I reached Puente la Reina around 12.30ish and what a gorgeous town yet again.  I went into the church and the man inside showed me the statue of St James who had come this way on the first pilgrimage. Of course the church was amazing and so old. 



There were a lot of candles burning beside St James and I am sure Kerry would have known what to do but for me this is more spiritual than religious and also time for me.  

I have decided I could definitely live in Spain.  Cherene have we won the lottery yet ?  

The town of Puente La Reina was lovely and of course on the half hour and the hour all the church bells chime.  This is in every town. 




The front door. Most doors have a door knocker which is a hand. 


Note the huge bunches of red peppers hanging outside the top floor.  Very common site here in Spain.  The vegetable gardens are amazing.  However not many vegetables served at dinner. Mainly a salad of lettuce onion tomato and dressing.  I am craving a few veggies. 



This is the sort of main streets in towns I am walking through. 

So as I walked out of town heading to Maneru I crossed over another old bridge 


Puente la Reina means Queens bridge and was built in the X11th century.  This is how old this place is. It was built by the mayors wife of Sancho  III to support the safe movement of the increasing amount of medieval pilgrims who joined the route at this stage from both France and Spain 

Wow am I full of history!!!! 

So out of town and onto my last 6kms before I was ready to call it a day.  


There were a few mountains to climb though before I reached Maneru.  Big climb and hot a sweaty. 




So far this is my favourite photo of the trip but sure more to come. 

So arrived in Maneru very footsore and ready to take my shoes off. Another cute town. 


This is my bedroom for tonight 


That’s my bed by the window on the bottom 

So it has taken me over 2 hours and 4 glasses of rose to post this blog as the wifi is 😜 but it is done so you know what I have been up to. 

I love doing this so hope you are all enjoying it.  If you meet anyone who knows me and doesn’t have the link please feel free to pass it on.  I am quite enjoying doing this.  Maybe I will become a full time blogger!!!!

Buenos noches and adios amigos 

💋🍷

Day 4.  Larrasoana to Cizur Minor

Another day in paradise.  I have to defer to my sister and Lyn.  You cannot compare the paradise as mine is equally as fabulous and so different.

Had a wonderful communal dinner last night at Larrasoana with many other pilgrims I have met on the way.  I love the albergue’s as it is usually €10 euros a night to stay and then an extra €13 for a 3 course meal with lots of bottles of red wine.   It is so cheap and it is a good hearty meal to fill you up after a big day of walking.

The comraderie and friendships you form as you walk are wonderful.  

Had a fabulous nights sleep as you can imagine walking 30kms a couple of red wines and I was out for the count.   

Met a lovely American couple T and Roland from San Francisco and I was blogging and T was journaling which I think is the same but an American term.  We were laughing together as we were sharing stories and getting tidbits of what we had both written.  

So up this morning. Had a sleep in today and didn’t wake up until 6.35am.  Whooppee!!! 

It was dark but decided I wasn’t going to walk in the dark anymore as, funnily enough, you can’t see!!!

Packed up and we were all sitting downstairs waiting for first light to set off.  Today I walked with my new friend Donna from Victoria, Canada 


We set off on the road to Pamplona. Again it was a bit overcast but warm  and today walked in shorts and tshirt.  The countryside is so pretty with rolling mountains not hills.  

We started the day walking beside a river which was beautiful and the path beside it was like something out of a fairytale 



We walked 4kms down the road for breakfast and had zucchini tortilla and tea for breakfast.  The delicacy here is tortilla but to me it is a frittata.  It is delicious.  You can get potato (the speciality) zucchini, mushroom or cheese.  Very yummy 
This was a tiny place called Akeretta 


It was then a day of wandering through the countryside chatting with my new friend meeting up with new ones.  




We then started to come to the outskirts of Pamplona and the countryside changed to very cute villages and houses.  The beauty of walking the Camino is that you can’t get lost. No matter where you are there are signs everywhere. When you get to the cities the yellow arrows or the sign of the Camino which is a yellow scallop shell is on the pavement on the street corners or signs everywhere even through the main streets of Pamplona 




We walked into Pamplona and what a gorgeous place.  The walk takes you right through the old part of town.  Stopped in the plaza for coffee

Here are a few extra snaps of the way into town and around 


Saw this beautiful fan shop but can’t shop as I have to carry it

So we passed through Pamplona and out of town 2kms to a little town of Cizur Minur which is where I decided to stop for the day and Donna went on to the next place 6kms down the road. 


Staying in a lovely albergue Roncal 


Shower is always first on the list of getting into a new place. That and rinsing out some undies and then the day is yours.   Got in here today around 1ish so have been wandering the town

And having the regulation sangria 


Have spent the afternoon wandering, reading, drinking a few sangrias and have now run into my friend Guillermo and am having a pilgrims dinner with Francine from Quebec and Christine from Melbourne 


It is now the end of day 4 feeling fabulous.  

Life is good. Buenos noches me amigos

X

Day 3 Roncesvalles to Larrasaona

What day another fabulous day on the Camino.  The first time I have had all day of sunshine since I arrived in Europe and it was hot.  

Up this morning in the monastery at 6am.  People start getting up at 5 and it is still pitch black


The monastery where I stayed last night

Because everyone gets up I am up as well and my friend Gil and I set off at 6.45am and it was still dark.  Lucky for head torches.  It was wonderful walking through tiny Spanish villages before anyone was up.  This is what they looked like 



The way is so well marked you cannot get lost and if you do take a wrong turn a local will come out and tell you your going the wrong way.  So we just walked through cow paddocks and bush tracks and all the cows sheep and horses all have big bells round their necks so the tinkling of bells is constant and so lovely. I felt like yodelling!!! 


It was really foggy this morning and quite eerie walking until the sun rose and burnt it off.  


We got to Bourgette and found a little cafe in the plaza that was open so had breakfast – coffee latte, potato pie which is a delicacy and I can’t remember the name of it but delicious.  I bought a banana and 2 apples as well and it was €5. So cheap.  We set off and before long the clothes were coming off.  I love my hiking pants. I just zip the bottom off and I have shorts. Jacket off and I have a tshirt and it became very hot.  Thank goodness the lovely Cherene had lent me the water camel which I have been filling and using everyday.  

Today I got my stride happening and I was ready to walk.  I left Gil and told him would run into him again over the next couple of weeks and set off.  The paths and countryside are stunning.  What I love the most is most of the houses have the year they were  built. Some of them go back to the 1600


The way I walked today was spectacular. There ain’t no mountain high enough that I haven’t climbed there ain’t no river wide enough that I haven’t crossed it’s a long and winding road and I have walked it and the hills are alive with the sound of music!!!  I am sure there will be lots more as I mosey onto Santiago. So here are some shots of the walk today 



This is the sign of the Camino and it is everywhere or there is a yellow arrow so impossible to get lost as these are approx every 100m


So I walked on to Zubiri which was approx 21kms from Roncesvalles but as I said I had my stride on so decided to go further to Larrasoana which was another 5.6kms down the track and so pretty.  But first I had to sit down and have a very thirst quenching cerveza (beer in Spanish) in fact I had 2. Took my shoes and socks off and aired them as well as a little massage got wifi so played on the phone and then headed down the track.  Here are photos of the extra 5.6kms I walked and the beers 





So it is now 5.24pm on a beautiful Spanish evening. The sun is still high in the sky it is still very warm and I have arrived, showered, done some washing and now sitting out in the beautiful courtyard with a plethora of nationalities having a cold sangria before dinner.  

Just looked at my step-o-meter. I walked 30.7kms today.  A personal best 

Something that I forgot to let you know about today on the trail at a place calls Erro which in Spanish means mistake there was a pop up cafe on the side of the road and this is what was at his establishment 


Life is good.  Adios Amigos 

Day 1 and 2 on the Camino

I loved St Jean Pied de Port.  Little French village that is really old.  It has a citadel and ramparts all around the old town which you can walk around. Cobblestone and tiny streets and of course to add to its cuteness there is a river running through it.  

I stayed in the first of many Albergue’s which are the pilgrim hostels.   It is like being back in boarding school with 20 bunk beds in a room.  Of course as I walk on they may be smaller or larger.  No men’s and women’s we are all in together and same with the bathrooms.  Everyone is so friendly and chatty and of course from all over the world.  Haven’t come across many Australians but that is ok.  

As there are so many people in the rooms and everyone is keen to get started most people are up at 5-6am and off.  I have been sleeping like a log.  In bed by 9 and up at 5 but feeling so good for it.  

First day on the trail most people had headed off by 8 but I had to post  some surplus stuff from my Paris week on to Santiago so I didn’t have to carry it.  

I set off from SJPDP at about 9.20 and it was raining so on with the poncho and off.  I was walking with Palestinian’s. Mother and son, French, Mexican. A lot of Brazilian’s polish, and Americans and they are all my age or around that age so lots of comraderie.  

I had been told that the first and second day were the hardest and they weren’t kidding.   On the road from SJPDP and it was virtually straight up hill, windy, raining, cold and we were walking in cloud so visibility was nonexistent but no cared it was just pure fun.  No one was in a rush everyone was walking at their own pace.   It was a very steep climb and took 2.5hrs to walk 8kms. First stop was orisson halfway up the Pyrenees on the way to Roncesvalles.  I had booked to stay in the refuge there and it was gorgeous. Here are photos of SJPDP and the walk over the ‘hill’ into Orisson.  Luckily once I got there it cleared and the view down the valley was spectacular 

Ok I seem to be having a bit of difficulty loading a few photos so will keep on with my blog and try later.  

Orisson was lovely. Just a very small refuge.  Luckily I had booked. Only 2 rooms with 5 bunk beds in them.  Of course we all arrived so wet and everything was wet so we had to try s dry everything. Luckily they had dryers and a bar.  So it was a hot shower shoved the wet things in the dryer and down to the restaurant for hot homemade soup and bread and sangria.  As I had left early in the morning and only had to go 10kms I was there by 11.30 so had all afternoon to while away the time. Luckily I had my book, lots of people to talk to and some sangria.  

All the pilgrims accommodation includes dinner and breakfast.   Breakfast is bread (baguettes) butter and jam and tea or coffee.   All meals are communal at long tables and set menus so just put on the table.  Dinner last night was soup followed by roast chicken pieces and peas and carrot and potatoes in a big bowl.  Big carafe of red wine and desert was an almond custard pie.   Very delicious and we all had to get up and introduce ourselves and say why we were here.  It was so emotional.  Cancer survivors, mothers and daughters husbands and wives. Every possible reason to do this wonderful walk.  

It was then into bed and didn’t hear a thing until I woke up at 5am this morning.  

At least today it wasn’t raining. Still a little overcast but clearing. Set off with my Brazilian friend Guillermo and we walked together today.  He was a geophysicist who has just retired from Rio de Janeiro.   

The refuge at Orisson had given us a sandwich as there was nothing on the way to Roncesvalles which was 16kms down the road but over the Pyrenees.  All I wanted to do all day as we walked through the clouds on top of the world was sing. The hills are alive with the sound of music!!!! Very like that last scene only it was overcast.   So we walked and walked and eventually crossed the mountain and came down the other side.  It was soooo steep.  Thank goodness for my walking poles.  Very hard on the knees also and of course very muddy and slippery but such a sense of achievement when the sun came out as we arrived at the monastery in Roncesvalles.  

It is so beautiful in this part of the country and of course I am now in Spain.  

I am not having any luck posting photos so will wait until I have better wifi. 

It is time for a sangria so adios amigos until my next blog. 

  

 
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The beginning 

I got a fabulous fast train down south today to Bayonne and then changed trains and headed into St Jean Pied de Port.  Very old town at the bottle of the Pyrenees.  Big climb tomorrow and there has been lots of  rain so will be lots of mud as I make my way over the mountains.  I will be singing the hills are alive with the sound of music.  A few of you reading this will understand.   

Have my credential (passport) for my pilgrimage and just done a huge walk around the town.  Went to the bishops prison and walked the ramparts.  

Just had a beautiful dinner and lots of rose in a lovely restaurant over the river.  I am loving the history and the age of everything.  Lots of world heritage listed places.  

So many different nationalities here.  Lots of Australians but lots more Spanish polish French South America german.  Just a plethora of nationalities.  

So here are a few photos of the day and the town.  

A week in Paris

My week in Paris is almost over.  I have walked virtually every inch of the city.  Seen the Eiffel Tower both day and night, l’arc de triumphe, Notre dame, pantheon, Sorbonne, walked the champs élysées sat in coffee shops, taken a river cruise down the seine had a walking tour of Montmartre as well as the Marais district and a lovely friend who lives in the Latin quarter took me for a walk all through that area.  I love the Architecture, the history the public transport system and cannot believe I actually touched and saw buildings that were built in 500AD.   Amazing.  I leave tomorrow to take a train down toSt Jean Pied de Port and start the Camino on Monday.  

Life is good and I love life. 

As you may have heard I have phone difficulties which means I am without internet unless I am in a cafe or place that has wifi so this may be intermittent or you could get an update every day.  

The main thing is I am having a ball.  

Until next time.  Here are a few photos