April 9, 2017. Day 20

Estella to Pamplona – 44km

We left Estella through the old town, which was lovely in the early sunlight.

We are now in the beautiful rolling foothills of the Pyrenees, which meant two very long climbs for us. We could see snow capped  mountains in the distance.

The route took us past the remains of an old Roman bridge and stone steps on the Camino at Cirauqui, and the 11th C bridge at Puente La Reina,  where the two Caminos (the Camino Franceés and the Aragonese Way) meet. The bridge was built by Queen Muniadona of Castile for use by the pilgrims.

When the N1110, which we had been following most of the way,  stopped short of Pamplona, we had a frustrating time trying to get into the city, despite being able to easily see it. When we finally made our way to the old town, we found ourselves amid throngs of people, celebrating after an organised run (20-Korrika). We dropped our things at the hotel and wandered around in the sunshine to soak up the atmosphere. More and more,  we are seeing signs in Spanish and Basque or just Basque. This is a language that is not recognizable. A look at the website of the Korrika event, for example, was not helpful. Incidentally, today, we saw that ETA, the Basque nationalist and separatist organization, had just given up a large cache of arms, having declared a ceasefire in 2011.

We are excited to be seeing old friends from our Cambridge Bay days, tomorrow. Helen and Wayne, who are holidaying in Spain, are arriving by train from Barcelona tomorrow to visit with us for a couple of days before heading on to Bilbao.

Wildlife note: vulture ?Black or Griffon (it was way up in the sky!)

Estella
Estella
The Camino – Estella
Puente La Reina
Where the Caminos meet

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