Day 6: Windmills and Snails

Z stayed an extra half day and meet B and Kat in Puente la Reina, the place where the different routes meet. The quiet of the morning was welcome after such frenzy. After passing through the university, we ascended to the charming village of Cizur Menor, where Kat had her usual espresso.


A snail crossed B’s path, a sign to take it slower that day (B has discovered she loves to run up the mountains, while Kat loves to fly down them). Butterflies and jack rabbits followed.


We walked closer to a gigantic yellow patch, and soon discovered we were in a sea of the happiest sunflowers. The simple beauty of following the sun and letting it warm our spirits.


Bikers passed, and we passed new faces on the Camino. A hard climb up led us closer to the awesome windmills on the Alto de Perdon.


We summited where a stunning cast iron silhouette of pilgrims graced the sky, framed by the windmills. A man in his van sold bicadillos and soda for 3€, a sure bargain. He had met Martin Sheen during the filming of The Way, which comes out in the U.S. in the fall. He was from Bilbao and knew the street Kat lived on when she was studying there during university.


A relaxed lunch introduced us to a loveky German-speaking Austrian couple and a couple of Civil Guards. Three official cars had arrived, and they were all decked out, scanning the horizons. B thought maybe someone was trying to steal the windmills, but Kat was sure they were clearing the way for some political figure.


A steep descent on rocky stones led us eventually to Obanos, a small village made famous by the murder if Felicia, a noblewoman who decided to live as a hermit there after she was so moved by the pilgrimage by Guillermo, Duke of Aquitane. Guillermo felt so bad that he spent the rest of his life mourning her there. Both siblings were beatified.


From there, it was a pleasant walk through what is now the wine country of Navarre. The landscape is turning green.


We reached Puente de Reina where B and Kat picked Z up from the bus stop for an evening at the albergue, Jakue, a hotel and albergue on the edge of town. 8€ gets a shared bunks in a divided 32-person room, 10€ a private room of 8 bunks and a bath, 12€ each for a private 3-person room…then 70€ and up for a hotel room (inflated for San Fermin).


Kat realized she was terribly sunburned, and Z went to get her some raw potatoes to help. We need to find a pharmacy tomorrow for some aloe since we are in Spain and everything closes during siesta from 2-5.


The supermercado was closed by the time we were ready for dinner, so we did the buffet for 11€. Everything looked better than it tasted. The hot soups were greasy, the desserts bland, chicken old, and meat surprise cutlets frozen. The best was the cured ham, rice and fish. Albergue food so far is not half as good as the bocadillos found on the side of the road.


Food aside, the town is lovely, cobblestones line the narrow streets with shops. The church of Santiago sits nearby the river. A sight worth slowing down and smiling with the sun.