Day One: St Jean Pied de Port-Espinal,
32,36 km, asc 1630 m, 9:59h
September 12th, 2016
- Glorious crossing of the Pyrenées in 35 degrees C.
- The 1500m+ ascent is very gradual on fine roads.
- The Roncesvalles albergue was packed. I was number 192 in the queue, so chose to move on to Espinal at 5 pm.
- I was completely alone on the trail after 5 pm.
Day Two: Espinal-Pamplona
35,6 km, asc/desc 723/1116m, 11:48h
September 13th, 2016
- A long day, walked through a thunder stom before checking in at a hotel in Pamplona completely exhausted at 9 pm.
- The receptionist had apparently left, had to call via booking.com for him to arrive.
- The road into Pamplona comes close to major highways and is not very attractive.
- Again I was alone on the trail after 3 pm.
- The riverside Café in Irotz was r a great place to relax.
Day Three: Pamplona-Uterga
17,29 km, asc/desc 422/379, 5:50h
September 14th, 2016
- 99% of pilgrims leave before 8 am and finish walking at around 3 pm, thus the way to avoid the crowds is: Leave late-arrive late
- Arriving late means risk of no space in communal albergues. However private albergues may be booked in advance, though they normally ask you to arrive before 4 pm.
- Best way to book hotels on the Camino: booking.com. Many private albergues also use this service.
- Left Pamplona at 11 am and was alone on the trail as the crowd had already lef
- I only walked 17,29 km as I was exhausted after the two previous days
Day Four: Uterga-Estella
31,44 km, asc/desc 549/576m, 12:44h
September 15th, 2016
- 90% of pilgrims follow the stages described in the Brierly guide book.
- Thus, accomodation is a lot easier to find outside these places, though apparently mid-September is still high season
- I have discovered the “Camino Police” or rather they have discovred me: Fellow pilgrims, complete strangers coming up telling me that I am walking the Camino the “wrong way” – ie. not using hiking poles, walking too late in the afternoon, using wrong boots. Curiously, those people have no hiking/long-distance walking experience themselves, basing their advice on 4-5 days walk on the Camino.
- Both Punte de la Reina and Estella are beautiful medieval cities with remarkable bridges
- The albergues in Lorca make great Paella.
This post is part of the Camino de Santiago in 24 days series.