Posted by: knitknigel | May 10, 2009

At Alto del Perdon I Sat Down and Knit

It just seemed right. It was an amazing day. I woke late, 6;30 and everyone was moving around me getting ready to start the walk. It took me another hour to get myself organized; I don´t know why it took so long but it did. I found out if was raining, so that was my first task, to find my raingear. Got to wear it a second time.

When I stepped out into the lobby of the albergue, one of the Newfoundland crew was there getting her blisters seen to and attempting to communicate with the hospitalera. I became the de facto interpreter, so I didn´t actually leave the Albergue until 8 am.

The rain wasn´t bad, and the walk was easy, although I did get a little confused about which road to take. I didn´t get lost though. We walked through the city and onto another town on the roads, where I had a coffee with my New Zealand friends. Then it was off into the country.

And the adventure. Shortly after leaving Cizur Menor, the way started to climb. Soon we were on a narrow path along a farmer´s field and the mud began. And continued for a couple of hours. I think it rained all night. It was one step at a time, each shoe sucking up from the mud with an audible squelch, one foot forward, pull it out of the mud, then the next. The mud accumulated under my shoes, so that soon, I was two inches talled and my shoes were two inches wider.

At one point I noticed a man climb up a bank into a higher field, so when I could I attempted the same thing. It was about 4.5 feet high, and as slippery as silicon gel, so I was having a hard time. Then Akio, the guy above, saw me and offered me his hand. It took three tries to get me up, as I kept slipping into the bank. Finally with his help and some fortuitous tree limbs I got up and the two of us set off in the field, crushing a path through the wheat.

When we got to the end of the field we were faced with a creek that had appeared. To get round it we had to climb another 5 foot bank up to a lane. I didn´t need a hand this time but it was tough.

And of course it wasn´t over. We were climbing up to a high ridge, and the mud just continued. At another point I took a lower course then realized I should be on the higher route, but again couldn´t make it up. Finally an Italian man saw me and offered me the end of his walking stick and hauled me up bodily.

When I got to the Alto del Perdon, it was a pleasure to stop and relax. From here on everything was downhill. I had my photo taken with my knitting next to the very modern iron sculpture of a line of pilgrims in the wind. (The path climbs up and under a long line of windmills which a Danish man I walked with for a few minutes proudly told me were built by the Danes.)

So I pulled out my knitting and celebrated my arrival at the top of the ridge with a row of knitting. It felt good to do it there. I also got to eat my very large apple and a container of lemon yogurt which tasted wonderful – I kept thinking of lemon merengue pie and my mother.

Down was almost as hard as up, except that there was very little mud. I guess I was on the windward side of the mountain now. The problem was that it was very steep. But finally I reached some level walking and moved briskly along. The path took me to a couple of villages and finally to Obanos where some people stop after Pamplona. But I wanted to make it to Puente La Reina so I pushed on – it was only another 2.5 km. When I arrived at the first Albergue I saw, I stopped and decided to stay. There is a public albergue about 500 meters down the road, but I was done for the day. I got a lovely bed, and had a wonderful shower which didn´t even require me to keep pushing the button to make the shower run. As a matter of fact the shower had 6 extra jets and one of those rain shower heads. Heaven!

A little detail. I have a phone which contains a step counter. The route today is described as 24 km but my step counter told me I did 30.1 km. And I walked 33000 steps, and used up 3500 calories. That´s a whole pound. I do hope it was a pound of fat!

I am relaxed now. I had a menu del dia, walked into Puente la Reina, to and over the amazing 13 century bridge with its 11 arches, and back into town for a nice glass of wine at a bar where everyone was watching a soccer game – they were very excited. Tonight I will have the Pilgrim menu at the hotel above the Albergue. Yes, we are in the basement. If I want a window I could probably have one for 50 or 60 euros, so my 8 euro bunk (lower) will do me just fine.


  1. And Mother’s Day is a good day to remember, again, our mothers who have passed on, leaving us with happy thoughts. Mine, too, was an expert with lemon meringue pie!

  2. When are we going to see these pictures of you and your knitting! 🙂

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