Camino Diary entry #11

31Emails home from the Camino

#11 Puente la Reina to Estella 22 kms 7 hours.
A time check tells me it is 6.33am and time to get into gear. By now I know that from wake up to ‘get up’Gwyneth needs a full 10 minutes so I quietly planted my feet on the floor and admired the fact that they are still intact.
Breakfast was not being served until 8 am so we went all out and made sure that our luggage was waiting for the courier and we would be all set to get a cracking good start immediately following breakfast.
Well… The fresh baked bread was really good and the coffees not too bad and then Donald and Herbert ‘faffed’ about over the cake and well, it was 9 am before we set foot out the door!
We rationalized our tardiness by deciding that when the temperatures are going to soar anyway, there would be little to gain by putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure – the heat will get us no matter what!
There were a few discrepancies in our information for today. At the top of our guide book page it reads: ‘there are hardly any gradients’ then 2 paragraphs down it warns us to ‘look out for the white gypsum as shortly you will be climbing an extremely steep slope among Aleppo pines!’
Guess what? There were indeed several extremely steep slopes!

Puenta Roman ,Cirauqui

Puenta Roman ,Cirauqui

We clocked a temperature of 33 degrees at one point and joined in the increasingly popular game of ‘there’s a bit of shade, let’s pause here’, until we came to the first of several delightful villages – Cirauqui. Sadly, we were still was only 8 kms into the day.
If we have a complaint, it would be lack of loos on the way! After walking in the searing heat,and downing a second litre of water, I invested in another litre of lemon at the only open cafe in Cirauqui . As I passed the money over I enquired as to the whereabouts of a toilet in the area. She took my money, smiled sweetly and said ‘ sorry, no toilet’. – I don’t imagine my face reflected as much joy as her own!42 Cute and quaint is all very well but it does wear a bit thin on a full bladder!
‘Hop behind a bush ‘ I hear you say. But clearly you have no idea of how many pilgrims are wandering along this damned trail – I simply couldn’t do that!
Before long we found ourselves pattering across the remains of a roman road (we were certain we could hear the clattering of horse hooves) linking Pamplona to Estella. Holding our breath in wonderment we stepped reverently over the ancient bridge savouring the deep connection of history.Within just a few more minutes walk we are startled to find ourselves standing on an over-bridge with 8 lanes of traffic racing beneath us!

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