The way started with rolling hills. It rained for the first hour. It’s been in the 50′s… good temp for walking. Passed lots of vineyards. Walked through a valley which was the coldest part of the day.
The dirt trail was intertwining with the road around the mountains. Once we reached the top & it straightened out we saw Vienna ahead. There were old stone churches & crescents in the main plaza, Plaza de Flores. Stopped at Cafe San Juan to rest.
5 hours of walking today we took a taxi to Logrono… it was about 9km away. Saw pilgrims walking the trail when it ran close to the road.
I’m getting more accustom to the terrain & the walking for hours.
Spent a whole day in Logrono. It’s full of narrow streets (similar to Pamplona), with cafes, bakeries, hotels & different shops. And plazas with massive stone churches, monuments & fountains.
Traveled the American way today & jumped in a taxi to Los Arcos:) Took the freeway & saw the Camino trail on the right. Getting into more wine country. Passed a few wineries. The beginning looked more like a climb. Towards the end of the drive you see more valleys the rest of the way.
I’m doing the Camino not cause I love hiking. I’m doing it to have fun traveling & see all the cities along the way. And to complete it the whole way to Santiago… whether by walking or taxis.
Los Arcos is probably the smallest town we’ve stayed in. The buildings all look the same from (I’m sure centuries ago) to keep the history of this quant little town.
Same trails… uphill & downhill. When you walk through the town of Cirauqui there a stand with a stamp to punch your pilgrim passport. The place you stay at (either hotels or alburgues) will stamp it. And when you stop at a bar/restaurant ask if they have a stamp – most of them do.
Passed lots of horses. When we reached the highest point it started raining so we had to break out the ponchos for the 1st time.
We walked by gardens & olive trees. Reached the town of Villafuerta & I was done. My feet were hurting so bad. I just wanted to rest them for a good hour but didn’t. Two full days of walking is the longest I’ve traveled.
Got to Estella & our hotel was allll the way on the other side of the city:(
We left Pamplona at 7am. The Camino signs lead us through old city & out the old city walls. It was a gradual walk uphill out of the busy city of Pamplona. Walking past lots of apartment buildings & lots of passing traffic. Up ahead was “sunflower fields” (little yellow flowers) & “cereal fields” (wheat fields). You look up & see windmills all across the top of the mountain range.
We reached the top which had the copper-looking statues of all the people & animals walking the Camino. In the movie, ‘The Way’ it’s where the guy from Amsterdam says “you can do this on a bike?? Why are we walking it?!” This is the half way point.
The downhill wasn’t a bad incline just lots of rocks.
At the bottom we reached a small town (in ‘The Way’ it’s where the woman meets the guy from Amsterdam & asks him for sleeping pills). I’m referring to the movie so much cause I just watched it. We stopped at an alburgue & had a cafe la leche (coffee with milk) & a tortilla bocadilla (I’m living off these things the whole trip).
We made it to Puente de la Reina in 6 hours (including the 30 minute lunch break)
Celebrated by having sangrias with Beatrice from Hungary & Michael from Switzerland. & Awilda from Oregon.
When you walk like you have a stick up your butt it’s time for a break. We took a 20 minute taxi to Pamplona. If only the Camino trail was along side of the road I think you’d make it in half the time. It would have been another 6 1/2 hours of walking. Reading the itinerary, today’s trail was still steep trails through the mountains.
Myself & other pilgrims I’m meeting along the way are saying “no one ever said how difficult it actually is!” Consider yourself forewarned!:)
We’re kinda taking the easy way with half days walking & getting about 7 days off throughout the 41 days to Santiago.
Pamplona is where we got a full day off to spend in the city. It reminds me of a much smaller Barcelona with plazas, shopping, cafés & 5 stories buildings of double doors leading out to small balconies. We sat in the main plaza, Plaza del Castillo had a cappuccino at an outside table. Take pictures of the old city walls & the running of the bulls statue.
This is the last major city we’ll stop in until we get to Santiago.
Feeling exhausted this morning like yesterday was a dream. We got some breakfast & had to have our luggage downstairs by 8:30. We booked through a company that puts together packages for people walking the Camino. It includes: a hotel room in every city, luggage transfer from town to town (up to 40 pounds each) & meals at the hotels. It makes a big difference not having 40 pounds on your back like most walking this. That can slow down your walking pace & add more problems to your body.
One the walk today my knees were hurting & Mark’s feet but we kept walking. If you stop it just makes it worse. Got 3 hours into it (about half way to Zubiri).
Met up with Erin & Alex & we stopped at Cafe Juan (the only cafe in this little town) I ordered a “tortilla bocadilla” for lunch (a baguette with egg & potato… kinda like a slice of quiche).
After the 3 hours today we decided to take a 10 minute taxi to Zubiri.
I can’t tell you how everyone warned us that the 1st day is the hardest & IT IS! Walking through the mountains, uphill with a steep incline. You’re taking dirt paths, grass, rocky paths & some paved roads. The highest point was about 1400 km (850 feet).
We meet 2 girls, Erin & Alex who are from West Palm Beach & Boca Raton! So we started walking with them. I find all the walking to be easier when you start talking to someone – you walk faster & get further.
The Camino does a great job of guiding you in the right direction with lots of yellow arrows on trees & the camino shell either in the trail paths or in cement post. Also letting you know how many kilometers til the next restaurant or town. But… there was this one part that split off in 2 directions & Mark thought it was the one where the Camino guide from the Pilgrimage office told us to take the left path because it’s a more scenic route. And, it wasn’t the right path! We walked up & around this mountain, came to snow! It was the windiest, coldest path we’ve experienced so far… FREEZING! We walked down the mountain & luckily there was a family getting ready to hike the local trails so we stopped & asked them cause we we’re seeing any Camino shells. He pointed us back the mountain we had just came from! It was about an hour & a half to get back on the Camino.
Then the worst part was going down the mountain paths. It’s so steep, your toes are being pushed to the front of your boots. This is where all of us started hurting. My knees & feet hurt. Mark started getting blisters.
We got to our hotel at 7pm. Dinner was being served – a side salad with oil, local trout (bone in) & potatoes. This is how you lose the weight so fast on the Camino. The food is all local & fresh.
Total hours walking: 10 hours!! (And all the Camino people tell you 7-8 hours of walking. No one said they did it in that time.)
It was an hour & a half flight to Biarritz, France. A driver took us to St. Jean Pied de Port which was an hour drive. It was all country side, lots of farms with sheep, driving further up in the mountains seeing clouds coverage so bad you can’t even see the tops of the mountains. The houses & buildings are all bright white & red shutters.
St. Jean is little town with so much foot traffic – some tourists & mostly pilgrims walking the Camino.
We walked around the steep brick paved roads with little local shops on each side. They have everything you need here for the Camino. You don’t have to pack anything… Columbia shirts, hiking boots, ponchos, walking sticks, coats, medicine, … it’s all here. (A good wifi connection is hard to find though.)
To pick up your Pilgrimage Passport you have to go to a Pilgrims Office. They are mostly located in the center of towns throughout the Camino. And everyone knows about them so just ask someone where it is. Each hotel you stay at along the way will stamp it. Santiago is the last stamp & there they give you a certificate saying you’ve completed the Camino.
The hotels are local little hotels… nothing with upgrades or room service. The hospitality you get from these people who work in the hotels is what it’s all about.
The whole day it rained & rained & even all throughout the night. We’re hoping it all came today & it will be nice tomorrow for our first day of walking the Camino de Santiago.
Back to Paris!!!! And it’s exactly the way I remember it… I love it here! Since coming from New York City too, I feel like New Yorkers would especially love it cause it’s a big city, all different kinds of people from different places & some much to do here! I spent 2 weeks here in 2008 & saw everything… Arc de Triumph, the Louve, the pretty parks, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, … So much to do & see I’m sure there’s so much more but we saw all the main stuff. So this time I just wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower. And Wednesday morning was rainy & cloudy but it was my only day so we got ready & walked there. Our hotel is literally a 10 minute walk to the tower. More like 4 minutes cause there’s a grassy area that leads up to the Eiffel tower. The walk toward the tower is full of different monuments & statues & flowers.
I got my ticket to go up the tower. It wasn’t busy at all being early morning & cloudy. I took the lift up.
Paris is a massive city. Took pictures of each direction. And took the stairs down which were not bad at all. They didn’t take very long.
We walked around the city a little.
Our last night in Paris we went to dinner at Café de l’esplanade. It’s so nice & they serve the best chilean sea bass. This was the same exact restaurant we went to when we were here 5 years ago! <3
Spent a New York minute in NYC before we took our looong flight to Europe. We stopped at London Hotel for drinks & Cuba Gooding Jr. was at the bar too with a couple people. Didn’t get a picture though:( it’s so funny when you see someone famous out you just know if it’s the right time & place to ask them for a picture. No one else was asking him for one either.
Got the idea to go to that hotel because that’s where Beyonce’s premiere for her HBO documentary Life Is But A Dream was at in February. And Oprah interviewed her up in – what looked like the penthouse.
Our friends were in the city as well so we went to dinner at The Fat Radish.
Here we are saying “Au revoir!” and off to Paris…