Maree & Jack cycle Portugal and walk Spain travel blog

An interesting old doorway in Burguete.

Having coffee in Espinal.

Heading uphill on the Camino after Espinal.

Waiting for Fran to arrive so that we can get on the...

The strangely Teutonic town hall in Pamplona.

I have no idea of the significance of this giant head in...

Some fine buildings in the main square at Pamplona.

This is what Pamplona is famous for thanks to Hemingway.

A view from the castle over the rooftops of Olite.

A view of some of the restored sections of the castle walls...

The Queen's gallery a small cloister - looks very paeceful.

Some of the 'runners' drinking and chatting before the 'running of the...

An unhappy bull charging the enclosure in which the men hide.

This morning, after breakfast, we brought down our luggage and left poor Pablo, the driver, to try to load it all. It is a real jigsaw and somehow he managed but I'm sure that I can hear him swearing at the size of the bags. We set off down the road initially keeping together so that Garry could take a group photo, hopefully we will all get a copy in due course. The first part of the walk was through a pretty forest where witches were reputed to have lived. Later we passed through the village of Burguete where Hemingway is said to have written 'The Sun Also Rises' and where he reputedly fathered a number of the children. We continued on to Espinal where we stopped for a coffee. At this stage the group was still more or less together. However the track became steeper and some of the usual suspects, including Fran, began to lag behind. Once over the top of the climb the problems really began for Fran who cannot cope with downhills and she fell further and further behind. At one point she had the option of getting on the bus, which Esther did, but chose to continue which made the rest of us have to wait at the bottom of the hill for about half an hour. Garry will have to have a word with her about this because it is unfair for Deb who has to walk along at the back.

We bussed it back to Pamplona where we were dropped off to have lunch and to explore for about 90 minutes. Maree and I found a bar and had a variety of pintxos with some coffee before wandering about to see what we could see. Unfortunately it was Monday early afternoon and many shops and all museums were closed. We settled for some gelati each and waited fro the next bus leg to Olite

Upon arrival at Olite we checked into our Parador (Spanish for Pousada) which is part of the restored Royal Palace of Olite. This palace, which was built between1402 and 1424 has been restored and part of it is used as accommodation while the rest is a museum. Our rooms are quite sumptuous as is the dining room. We visited the museum part and had a thoroughly good look at all of the sections. It has been carefully restored to give one a good impression of what the buildings looked like in their heyday. At this stage the rooms have not been furnished but a well written guide describes how they would have looked. We climbed up a couple of the towers in the castle and took many photographs of the town. Later that evening, after we had freshened up, we went down to the town square where there was to be a 'running of the bulls'. We had seen many people, including little children, all dressed in white with red scarves and belts sitting about drinking and chatting. At around 8:15 most of the children had moved to a reserved seating area and other people were gradually filtering out of the square which was surrounded by a sturdy fence. At 8:00 the sound of a gunshot heralded the arrival of a group of variously aged men running down the road followed by two smallish bulls (admittedly with sharp horns). The men ran to a previously set up enclosure and the bulls ran about slipping on the cobbles. For the next 15 minutes, while we were there, boys and men took it in turns to taunt the bulls and run across in front of them before leaping up onto the fences. It was all rather tame and a bit silly but the participants all seemed to be enjoying themselves. One hopes that bulls were having a bit of fun too but somehow I doubt it. Eventually we had had enough and returned to the hotel to await dinner. This proved to be quite delicious.

Today we had no rain and the temperature varied from an early morning of about 10 degrees up to about 24 in late afternoon. It was very comfortable for walking. I remembered to take my Garmin today but forgot to start it when we began walking so I only recorded the last 6km of our trip. Garry says that we walked about 12 km today but then he says that every day. Perhaps by tomorrow I will have an accurate measure of how far I walk.

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