Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day 5 - 27 April - Pamplona to Puente la Reina

As Lynn Anderson famously sang:

Alto del perdon                                                        

I never promised you a snog in the garden

Up and at it this morning at half past seven, breakfasting at a cafe in the heart of Pamplona before hitting the road at just after eight. Still feeling a little bit sore about that kiss last night but what can a bloke do?

The early morning light rain worked its way up to heavier rain throughout the morning and we weren’t much out of the city before the ponchos were called for. 

Today we were to pass one of the Camino’s most iconic landmarks, the Alto del Perdon - the hill/ height of forgiveness. Located at an altitude of 770 metres and providing fantastic panoramic views, it is best known for a sheet metal monument representing pilgrims from various eras. This of course meant a long, uphill trek which took the whole morning, in the rain, and with but one refreshment stop from which I was ejected! Or at least I thought I had been. There I was, stood in the queue for takeaway coffees and donuts, when the guy running the place started gesticulating at me. Remember, it was raining heavily outside and there I was with my poncho dripping wet in his establishment. Michael (from Australia, not Michael from Switzerland of whom I have my man crush) said “I think he wants you to get out mate” so I sheepishly backed out of the door wondering why he had picked on me and not any of the other similarly poncho’d-up punters. Turned out my poncho-covered rucksack, as I backed up against the wall, kept turning the shop light switch off and on. The guy was simply trying to get me to move away from the switch. The coffee and donuts were very nice by the way.

The hill of forgiveness. Yes, I need to put last night behind me so Mrs C has promised not to snog Ernest Hemingway again and I will knock this would-be Michael bromance on the head (that's Michael from Switzerland not Michael from Australia who I still haven’t forgiven for ejecting me from the takeaway).

What goes up must come down and after the Alto del Perdon it was largely downhill on the walking front and uphill on the weather front as the rain stopped and we even saw a bit of sunshine late afternoon. We enjoyed a very nice refreshment break in the small town of Uterga and later took a detour off the main route to go see a church which, it transpired, only opens on Saturdays. Fortunately, the bar in Obanos had more appealing opening hours and that’s where we had the first beer of the day a while later.

Then it was down into Puente la Reina, a beautiful little town, where we had booked a room for the night in a private albergue. Our subsequent bar crawl ended up being just the one bar; it was so nice we stayed for more drinks and then our meal of forgiveness. The Alto del Perdon had worked its magic. Sorry Michael.

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