April 4, 2015 day 4 of walking
Cizur Menor to Puenta La Reina 23.3 km, 6 hrs 40 minutes
We have completed 100.3 km of the Camino. Brian thinks that is worth another beer, especially since he discovered the Spanish one: Alhambra. Margaret and I are having tea. They are playing rummy as I write.
We never planned to stay in albergues, but this is our fourth night, and it is Easter, a busy time. Even to get these last two nights we had our hospitalero phone ahead. For tonight he tried three before succeeding. Each night the albergue has been full. Tonight there might be three free beds. Any takers? There are six bunks in our room.
Although the skies threatened rain all morning and we donned some of our rain gear, only a few drops fell on us.
The barkeeper from last night must have slept in. He told us he would be open for coffee at 7 AM. At 7:05 AM the place was totally dark. We had to walk mostly uphill 6 kilometres before finding a cafe at Zariquiegui. We were rewarded with good cafe con leche and potato tortilla. It saw us the rest of the way to the top of the ridge of windmills. We felt why the windmills are always spinning. It was a chillier day than thus far. I wore my headband quite a bit.
The ridge is called the Hill of Pardon. In 1996 a series of metal sculptures were erected to represent centuries of pilgrims passing here. It is said that if you make it this far, even without going to Santiago, your sins are forgiven. We do not know about sins committed after today. Perhaps we now are sporting haloes and have a direct ticket to heaven. Watch for our glow! 🙂
We were meant to do 19 km today, but we decided to take in a detour and extend our day by 4 km. We took the trail to Eunate to view Iglesia Santa Maria, an octagonal stone church with Quartz windows and 33 arches surrounding it that formed a courtyard. It was built in 1070 possibly ordered by a queen as a hospital/church for pilgrims. Somehow the Knights Templar also figure into its history.
Arched doorways and windows are everywhere in the village of Obanos where we lunched on hearty soup Castellano ( garlic and egg) and paid a lot for water: 5 euros for 2 litres! We have not paid for water anywhere, but we did have linen tablecloths and napkins!
Puenta la Reina is a beautiful town of 2500 that has maintained much of its eleventh century core, churches and bridge. Arches play a significant role. One could make a photo book of unique arched doorways and windows.
We ate well at very little cost which is why Brian is still drinking beer.