Quantcast

Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago: Pamplona to Puente la Reina

Leaving Pamplona walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that this summer, I spent 9 days walking around 180km along the Camino de Santiago, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Logroño in Spain. I wrote a Q&A post in response to some of the questions people had asked me along the way already but had so many people ask me if I was going to blog about the entire experience that I’ve decided to make this a nine part series over the next 3 months or so. Noone wants to read a recap featuring 100s of photos and 1000s of words and I feel like this might be more helpful for people who are looking for information about the specific stages. This is Part 5 (Parts 1-4 linked at the end of this post).

Camino Frances Day 5: Pamplona to Puente la Reina (approx 25km)

This day started out well with a generous breakfast buffet at the gorgeous Hotel Pamplona Catedral

Breakfast in Pamplona walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Buoyed up by such deliciousness, we made our way through the fairly empty streets of Pamplona, resisting such temptations as the cheese and tortilla vending machine…

Cheese vending machine in Pamplona walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com But not resisting the temptations of Café La Tahona right on the edge of town where we stopped off for some sweet sustenance to bring along with us.

Cafe La Tahona in Pamplona walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

The first part of this walk is fairly easy – on footpaths and small suburban roads. I knew from reading John Brierley’s “A Pligrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago” and also from watching The Way that this was the day we would see the famous wind turbines and the pilgrim monument atop Alto de Perdón. “Wind turbines?,” I hear you ask… Why yes, can’t you see them?

Alto de Perdon in the distance walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Yeah, uh, those TINY white blips on the horizon. THOSE are the wind turbines and we were walking to them… (and that was only the halfway point in the day!). Ok, then… As you can see the terrain was not the most interesting so both Yvonne and I decided that we just needed to GO. We walked pretty steadily that morning (as you can see there was no shade at all to stop in).  About 1/2 way to the first rest point, we came across what looked like a dog walker with about 7 dogs who were all leaping joyfully through the fields. Except this one…

Dog on my feet walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Our friend wanted to have a little play (conveniently in the share of a rock) but my plans to rest awhile and play were thwarted as his attention was drawn to the group of pilgrims behind us. Oh well…

Meanwhile…

Alto de Perdon getting closer walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

(no, they don’t seem to be getting any closer, do they?)

Alto de Perdon wind turbines getting closer walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

The sun was relentless that day (this was before 9am as well…). Though we still had a long way to go before our destination that night, we had already come such a long way…

Looking back at Pamplona walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

(those are the outskirts of Pamplona in the distance!)

Sunflowers and wind turbines walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

We had a brief stop in Zariquiegui just beyond the sunflowers before beginning the brutal 2km ascent up to the wind turbines…

Heading up to Alto de Perdon walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And finally…

Wind turbines at Alto de Perdon walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.comPilgrim monument on Alto de Perdon walking the Camino de Santiago n eatlivetravelwrite.com

It was, indeed a wonderful moment, complete with a snacks truck!

Food truck at Alto de Perdon walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

It’s really windy up there (duh, of course it is!) and we knew that we still had 10km left (yikes!) so we headed off down the other side of the hill. This descent is marked [!] in the book with good reason…

Descending from Alto de Perdon walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

The photo does not do it justice at all but it’s incredibly steep and the gravel and stones are very loose so it’s not an easy 3.8 km into the next town.  In fact, I think it took us well over an hour. We stopped in Uterga for a cold drink and were amused (but not surprised) by the vending machine offerings…

Medical vending machine in Uterga walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Bandaids anyone? 😉

At this point in the day, my Fitbit was proof of why I was feeling so sluggish:

Fitbit steps Day 5 walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Uh, ok then. And we still had nearly 6km to go.

headed to Puente la Reina walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

We were too tired (and didn’t know where the next toilet stop was) to even stop at this enterprising lemonade stand just outside Óbanos…

Headed into Obanos walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

We pushed on through Óbanos…

Church in Obanos walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

and finally arrived in Puente la Reina around 4.30pm. A long day indeed!

We rested up a little and headed out around 7.30 in search of some food and drinks. We immediately noticed that people were dressed for a fiesta:

Puente la Reina fiesta walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Yup, the whole town was partying that night. We were so tired (and hungry) that we bypassed the festivities and headed to the main boulevard where we scored a table at La Contrada. Apparently the place to be and a wonderful place to people-watch.

Bar life in Puente la Reina at La Contrada walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

We enjoyed some well-deserved cold beers and some patatas bravas (our first of the trip!):

Patatas Bravas at La Contrada in Puente la Reina walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

(that’s a garlicky sauce on top, by the way. Delicious!)

I had a very non-Spanish goat cheese salad…

Goat cheese salad at La Contrada in Puente la Reina walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And a huge ice cream (hey, 25km deserves a little treat, right?!)

Ice cream reward in Puente la Reina walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

And we sat a while and nursed our drinks…

Friends catching up at La Contrada in Puente la Reina walking the Camino de Santiago on eatlivetravelwrite.com

As the rest of the town was just getting going fiesta-ing, we headed to bed, knowing we had another 20km+ to walk the next day.

Verdict?

This was a tough day partly because of the heat and partly because of the terrain. The first half of the day, whilst it was steep ascents, would have been so much easier if it had been a few degrees cooler. The second part of the day, well, that steep descent wouldn’t be fun in any weather, so….  My advice would be to start out as early as you can so you’re not exhausted walking in the height of the day. Also, if you’ve had a day’s rest in Pamplona, I’d definitely say you’d be in better shape than we were (we didn’t stay out late at all but it was later than previous nights).

Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for the next instalment – Puente la Reina to Estella. Featuring all the reasons why it’s important to stretch your feet and legs EVERY night when you are walking 20km a day…

_________

Disclosure: I researched Camino trips independently and chose the Camino Travel Center based on a number of features such as flexibility to accommodate a couple of “splits” in some of the longer days, price and customer service. They were, in fact the first company I came across in my very first Google search and the one I ended up booking with. From the initial inquiry to the actual trip, they were a pleasure to deal with and we were very impressed with the service provided (bag transportation) and the accommodation choices. I was not compensated to write about this trip in any way but I love sharing companies and products I believe in with my readers. I couldn’t recommend the Camino Travel Center more and, in fact, am looking at booking another Camino walk with them in the future.

Please note: This post contains product links from Amazon which are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!

Read more about the Camino de Santiago:

Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – questions and answers
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 1: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Valcarlos
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 2: Valcarlos to Roncesvalles
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 4: Zubiri to Pamplona
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 5: Pamplona to Puente la Reina
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 6: Puente la Reina to Estella
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 7: Estella to Los Arcos
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 8: Los Arcos to Viana
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 9: Viana to Logroño

 

 

 

Save

, , , , , ,

12 Responses to Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago: Pamplona to Puente la Reina

  1. Laetitia October 17, 2016 at 09:10 #

    Can’t wait to read about day 6! Still loving those.

  2. Nana October 17, 2016 at 16:44 #

    Very enjoyable reading Mardi. The photos and scenery are quite interesting. Looking forward to the next chapter. Ro

    • Mardi Michels October 18, 2016 at 05:48 #

      Thanks so much for reading! I am loving reliving the trip through these posts!

  3. Geoff October 17, 2016 at 18:16 #

    Lovely summary of a summery day.
    Nice pics too, Mardi

  4. Kavey October 18, 2016 at 13:22 #

    This day does look tough and long too. I think I’d definitely struggle, especially out in the sun with no shade. I do love wind turbines though. Oh and that field of sunflowers, so pretty!

  5. Fiona Maclean October 19, 2016 at 11:51 #

    I’m not sure I’d have got much further than Café La Tahona – all looks delicious!

    • Mardi Michels October 19, 2016 at 19:42 #

      Haha, that was less than 1/2 hour into the day!

  6. Julianna October 21, 2016 at 04:01 #

    The walking looks tough… but the food looks great!

    • Mardi Michels October 21, 2016 at 05:57 #

      Well the food wasn’t always a highlight but on this day it was nice to have something a little different!

Leave a Reply