Picking up from where I left off, our rest day in Pamploma saw us doing the washing in a laundromat off the main square, and searching a department store for lighter versions of clothing. Although the mornings and evenings are cool, the days have been very warm. My coat and fleece were too heavy and bulky to carry all the time, so I decided I would send them home if I could get some alternatives, along with some other stuff that I figured I could do without. I had bought some art supplies with me in the fanciful notion that there would be the opportunity to play along the way. My iPad was also offloaded as access to good WiFi was limited, and it was therefore useless. A trip to the Post Office, and several attempts (due to language challenges) to send the stuff finally saw a 3.3kg box of gear on its way back to Australia.
As we left the intriguing city of Pamploma – so clean and green with its population of about 200,000 people, and its compatible blend of ancient and brand new, the Alto de Perdon, or Hill of Forgiveness awaited us at 790m.
The ridge across the mountain range was imposing with the line of wind turbines whirring in the distance as we slowly climbed, passing fields of sunflowers as we went. Preceding Pilgrims had used their creative talents to “carve” happy faces, hearts, peace signs and the like by removing some of the seeds from the flower heads close to the path. The view back to Pamploma was spectacular – no photo could ever capture the awesomeness of it.
Onward and upward we trekked – following a winding path that had me wondering “Are we there yet?” as we climbed and rounded a bend, only to see yet another climb in front of us. The magic of the views and the fascinating flora kept me going.
As we got closer to the top of Alto de Perdon, the noise from the many wind turbines sounded like we were on the runway at Heathrow with jets taking off every which way. Finally we crested the hill and all was forgiven…. or so I hoped.
A monument to Pilgrims old and new stood on the peak, along with a wrought iron representation of medieval pilgrims, heads bent to the west wind. The wind in this part would rival that of Geraldton for its intensity.
Ahead of us lay more mountain goat tracks, descending steeply toward the village of Uterga, where we had our big packs forwarded to. By the time we arrived all the accommodation was taken. A Google search and a garbled phone call in Spanish yielded us a room in a Casa Rural in the next village of Muruzabal, some two kilometres further along the track. Dinner at the local bar was very “homely”, with the added pleasure of the company of an entertaining Irish couple.
I had trouble with my getting my boots to feet right, and I foolishly decided to go with one pair of socks instead of two – this silly decision, together with over 18kms of stony paths resulted in a blister, and although I could feel the soreness, I continued to walk with that “she’ll be right” attitude…. she ended up far from right….
Faith, Trust and a Little Stardust