Pamplona to Puente La Reina

Can't go anwhere in the world without coming across an Irish Pub ! pamplona to puente la reina

Can’t go anwhere in the world without coming across an Irish Pub !

Route segment: 5

Saturday 30th September 2000

Of course, there was a fiesta last night and the Pamplonians were celebrating all night so again it was a fairly sleepless night. Olivia and Daniel have not stayed at the refuge as she is meeting her boyfriend and they all go to a hotel. As I am walking past the university on my way to “Cizor Minor” I spot them again. They have agreed to meet Geordie at a bridge up the road.

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A timely reminder of why I think I am walking the camino !

I do not wait for them as I know full well that they will catch up and pass me soon enough. At Cizor Minor, there is a bar open and I stop for a “caffe con leche”. There I meet the Danish girl, Lisa for the first time, talking to a guy I have seen before but who’s name I never can remember. It is common to ask folk you meet on the walk, when you get to know them, why they are walking it.

She tells me that she was doing a doctor’s degree but that after some practical training she decided that it was not for her. She is here just to “find herself”, a common reply. I am sure that a lot of people walking the Camino do not really know why they are there and need to come up with some rational reason.

Eventually Olivia and the others turn up and we sit and have coffee together. So I say goodbye and outside immediately meet a silver haired French woman, Theresa. She seems a bit crazy to me but we seem to have a rapport and we walk for quite some distance together. She says that she is or was a Buddhist nun and is doing the walk for its spiritual nature. She is into energy and its healing effects on people.

We talk about the American ladies who were staying at the refuge in Pamplona and discuss the use of the energy stones, which the daughter placed around the bed her mother was sleeping in. This woman is in her sixties and has several daughters my age including one who is living with a Scotsman, so we have something in common. This woman laughs a lot but the laugh has a maniacal quality to it.

I remember soon that the Dalai Lama also laughs all the time and at seemingly wrong moments so I remember not to judge the woman for it. She has a fondness for singing and I often hear her singing at the various refuges where our paths cross.

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All the hills around “Pamplona” are covered with Wind Power Generators. Those are full grown trees below them !

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Those generators are huge. The blades are at least 50 meters long !

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A strange metal sculpture at the top of the path before it dives down again for 8 Km

Olivia and the others have stopped at the top of the pass and are sorting out their footwear. Geordie makes a comment about “Muchos kilometros” when we look for “Puente La Reina” on the horizon. The path down is very bad and they speed ahead while I do my usual very slow descent.

I have great difficulty walking down this kind of slope and it takes me ages. I have never felt particularly sure on my feet with these boots and I don’t want to break a leg trying to go down too fast. It is raining slightly and the stones are slippery. This is going to be a lonely day for me.

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The view of the path ahead. “Puente La Reina” is not even in sight even at this height !

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A strange tree just before the refuge at “Puente la Reina”

I eventually reach “Puente La Reina“. The refuge here is the first to have triple bunks and the room is very dark and dirty. I do not look forward to staying here. I wait an hour or two and hear that there is another refuge here. I decide to go looking for it and discover that it is on the other side of town up on a hill. This refuge is still not fully finished but it looks and feels much better than the other one.

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The old refuge at “Puente La Reina”

By the way, that dirty refuge no longer exists and has been completely renovated during 2001 and greatly expanded. The old one occupied only a tiny part of the building it was in and the whole building is now occupied with a new refuge.

However it is still not a good place to stay as the beds squeek terribly at even the slightest movement, like breathing. In addition, the one that Collienne and I stayed at is now completely finished.

The town “Puente La Reina” is actually the meeting point of several Camino paths and tends to be very busy indeed during the summer. So the locals have been forced to build massive new facilities to support the number of pilgrims wanting to stay there.

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The new refuge at “Puente La Reina”

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The view of “Puente La Reina” from the hill with the new refuge

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The bridge over the river at “Puente La Reina”