Every journey begins with a single step. We took our first real step on the Camino about a block from our hotel when we turned onto Calle Mayor and headed out of town. The sky was cloudy and the temperature around 50, but at least there was no rain.
We walked through the beautiful campus of the University of Navarre and suddenly the view opened up - voluminous fields of green grass (which we assume is used for feed) and rape (or canola) with its brilliant yellow blossoms, all framed by a high ridge bearing windmills ( the electric kind). We knew our walk today included that high ridge.
Along the way we met a delightful English woman named Paula from Manchester who joined us for part of the day. She had done 35 km yesterday and was doing 30 km today. We were just happy to be doing 16 km today, but we'll do more.
By the time we hit Zariquiegui, the wind had really started to pick up and we could hardly hold onto our hats. We ate lunch in the Romanesque doorway of the Church of St. Andrew (lunch being food we picked up from breakfast at our hotel).
From there it was 2.4 km to Alto del Perdon (about 2400 ft but we started at about 1400). The wind here was fierce- maybe 40 mph. (Think that is why they put windmills here?!!!) Alto del Perdon is that scene in the movie "The Way" which features a wrought iron representation of medieval pilgrims, head bent to the west wind. It is an iconic structure every pilgrim looks forward to seeing. The way down was somewhat steep over loose rocks, but not as bad as many of the trails we encounter in Southern California.
Our next stop was Uterga, which we reached at 3 pm, just as it started to sprinkle. We had already decided this would be the end of the day so we headed to Camino del Perdon Albergue. We secured a bed for 10€ and a pilgrim meal for 12€. Pilgrim meals include a first course (like a salad), an entre with a vegetable (usually fries), a desert and wine. We laid claim to 2 bottom bunks side by side and quickly used the shower. They at least have men's and women's bathrooms. By 5 pm the place had filled up, with all manner of people - men, women, young, old, and various nationalities. There's something about all of this that seems strangely reminiscent of summer camp, and for me, that is a good memory.
My apologies to everyone about the blog. It was conceived in a hurry and I don't know how to get it to receive comments. Secondly, I don't know how to do captions on the photos. You can always reach me by my email (I can get it here) . As for the photos, I'll try to make them obvious in my descriptions.