Another day on the trail and we are starting to get into our own rhythms. They were different walking partners today to hear different stories and share the experiences of the day, plus time alone to think and enjoy the sights and sounds.
Breakfast was substantial again to fuel up for the day, before we left Osteritz - our 1725 year old guest house built for the pilgrims and used for filming part of "The Way"
We followed the path along the Rio Arga in densely wooded terrain (beech, oak and conifers) and some very thick understory. The start of autumn foliage is appearing on the deciduous trees and the many late flowering shrubs, berries and rose hips made the morning a colourful walk as the river flowed rapidly over shallow rapids.
Staying close to the river, the path starts to climb with farm land all around - lots of orchards and open hot houses with the last of the summer tomatoes. The small villages along the way were very quiet and empty of people. It is Sunday and according to David our guide, they were either sleeping off Saturday night or at church. But the small bars were open offering coffee,drinks and pastries, and most importantly a seat and the loo.
As we followed the river valley at various heights above the mostly fallow fields it became much drier and larger towns were visible in the distance along with wind towers on the horizon. I found an abandoned pair of walking shoes by one of the cement Camino trail markers - with the soles all but gone. I hope my boots don't meet the same fate before Santiago Di Compostella!
There was a long steady climb to Mt Mirravalles, then a long steady descent to Arre/Villava, where we crossed the river again on a lovely medieval bridge. I had a quick look at the museum by an old mulling mill and a long look at a beautiful quilting exhibition - all local contributors of this well acknowledged craft. The quilting and show pieces were exquisite.
Now we were on the home run to Pamplona, the home of the famous "running with the bulls" Our bed tonight is at the beautiful Puerta del Camino in the old town - a maze of narrow streets and beautiful balconied buildings. David took us on a walking tour through the old town to Santa Maria Cathedral, Pamplona town hall and Plaza delCastillo , but I think we walking travellers were more interested in the multitude of bars with their huge selection of wonderful finger foods (pinchos, pintxo......) and ice cream.
It was an easy walking day today, stretching out our stiff muscles from the Pyranees. I enjoyed the countryside, good conversations and time alone. I'm feeling strong and confident.
A thought/quote for the day "Worrying is praying for what we don't want". Pilgrims book in Zubiri.