Signpost at the edge of town
I skipped breakfast in order to make a 7.30 a.m. start in drizzle, though the receptionist said that sun was forecast. There were hordes of pilgrims heading out of Pamplona. It was impossible not to know the way! After an hour or so, I arrived at Cizur Menor, desperate for a coffee and found one off track (Padrillo?).
Church at Zariquiegui.
From there the way led to Alto del Perdon (alt. 790m.) It was hard going up hill, with a long row of wind turbines up ahead, marking the line of the summit I made a brief stop for a drink of water and a banana at Zariquiegui, sitting on a low wall outside the church with its Romanesque doorway.
It was very cold and windy on top. I had lunch just before the summit, in a semi-sheltered spot with a picnic table beside the track, but nearly froze as I took out my bread and chorizo! There were views all round, back to Pamplona and ahead to Uterga, Eunate etc. The metal pilgrim monument of people bent into the west wind provided a good photo opportunity for everyone en route. There had been quite a mass exodus from Pamplona, but most had overtaken me by this time, including a noisy school group of teenagers and their teacher.
Pilgrim monument at the Alto.
I arrived at the Alto at 1.45 p.m., with another 4 kms to go to Uterga, all downhill, but on a very stony track, hard on the feet, which I took very carefully using my stick, as I didn’t want to risk a broken ankle. For the first time, I managed to overtake someone. Cuckoos were calling.
My booked albergue and private room at the Camino del Perdon was a welcome end to the day. As I sat having a beer in the bar, they were turning people away who arrived with no booking. The sun came out and warmed pilgrims resting in the garden. After a hot shower and pilgrims meal, I had a good night’s rest.
Albergue Camino del Perdon