Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day Four: Pamplona to Puenta la Reina

I am so blessed. Today was another beautiful day, sunny and breezy -- my face and arms are starting to actually keep a tan! We started our morning again a little later than the average pilgrim (most pilgrims are up and out at five am!!) and by eight am had eaten breakfast, had our coffee, and were on the road. The trail took us through the city of Pamplona and then (where else?!) but straight up to Alto del Perdon, the highest point on our walk today. This point is most famously known for the pilgrim monument that rests atop it's peak. At the top, we rested for a bit and had time to reflect on all the pilgrims who have passed before us (not just last week or last year, but hundreds of years ago) as well as the pilgrims of the future. I suppose technically at any point in time you are standing somewhere where people stood hundreds of years ago, but not necessarily for the same purpose. What an immense feeling to be a part of something so great. 

After reaching the peak we headed straight down. I'm so glad today was not wet, because the rocks would have made for a treacherous route! It was at this point that the pilgrims we were walking with commented that I go down the mountain like a mountain goat, quick and sure footed (which is in strong opposition to how I go up: like the little engine that could, huffing and puffing and chanting away). I'm always the first one down and the one to follow for a solid path. I'm glad that I am able to contribute something to the other pilgrims to help their walk be less burdened. After the steep decent we wandered through three little towns, one of which had a small cafe that we were obligated to stop at for a cool drink and a bite to eat. Many of our fellow pilgrims were there, including a group of four ladies from England who are always kind and having a good time. After our rest we continued on our way until we arrived at Puenta la Reina. (That would be six hours and twenty seven kilometers.) The Albergue we are at cost only five euro, but there are eight of us all sleeping in a room no bigger than seven feet wide. It doesn't bother us, though, because it is kind of like a crazy sleepover that starts with introductions and dinner and ends with snoring. 

Speaking of dinner: we splurged tonight and ate the Pilgrim's Menu Buffet at a local hotel -- cheap bed, pricey bread (though only thirteen euros and all the food and wine we could consume). We joked that we would waddle back to our Albergue and would be spoiled for tomorrow. After dinner we went to church to pray: The Church of the Crucifixtion. We missed the pilgrim mass (which made us sad -- we will ask in the next town to make sure we get there on time) but were happy that the church was not locked. The lights were all off in the old church, but for one euro deposited in the box, the lights would turn on (though there was no warning as to of when the lights would go back off ...). I sat in silence (and then in dark silence) and prayed in thanksgiving for the wonderful adventure I've had thus far and for the love and support I feel all around me. I prayed for my family and friends and for the intentions you all have posted here. 

Here are a few pictures from today: 

This picture just doesn't give justice to the steepness of the hill or the beauty of the day -- but both are very true!! 

The pilgrims make their way to Santiago. 

A beautiful area of devotion out on the path -- so many opportunities to remember why we walk and where we are going. 

Today's selfie!! Life is good. 

Christ above the altar in the church (before the lights went out). Such strong imagery to inspire deep devotion. 

And my bed for tonight. 

Usually Vera and I are in our bunks well before lights out and the snoring begins, but with our church detour after dinner, we were the last ones back to the room! My fellow pilgrims are super concerned with my cold now that I have started coughing (you all know the cough: dying moose / perhaps the plague). I feel much better now that my nose isn't stuffy, but that isn't much consolation to those who don't know my cough history. Everyone seems to have a remedy / medicine that they feel they need to give me to help me be well -- I have cough drops from five different countries! I'm sure they want me to be well, but I'm sure they are concerned for their sleep as well (no one wants to sleep in the room with the dying moose!) The point is, I'm feeling better and have the support of many -- the Camino is filled with people who care and want to help. I feel right at home with my Camino family. 

Buen Camino. 



  1. Great pictures today! Sleep tight!

  2. So proud of you, Jena! Thinking Of you every day!

  3. Love reading about your adventure. What a journey! You look so happy and sound so strong despite that nasty cold.

  4. Sheri: Thanks! I've been taking lots of photos, but I always feel like they just don't even come close to the actual beauty! haha

    Andrea: Thanks!! I have been praying for you and the girls and Caleb!

    Pat: I'm glad you are enjoying the blog!! You and Gilbert need to come visit Spain: such good people and food and wine and sights. My nasty cold is trying to hold me back, but my spirit overcomes and my body just keeps going! haha

  5. Jena.. I love the blog!! You are such an amazing and inspirational writer. I think you may be missing your calling :) But I also know you will make an amazing doctor as well. The pictures are amazing and thank you so much for sharing with all of us in the states. We will all continue to send many prayers from here. I can't wait to see the rest of your journey. Hope you continue to feel better and get lots of rest!! Kim Huelsmann