Another great breakfast from our congenial host with some fruit to spare for the trip. Stepping outside we could see that the rain was still coming down hard, so we had to gear up with the ponchos, which were barely dry from yesterday. When we got to Larrasoana, we decided to keep moving instead of crossing the old bridge and seeing the town because the rain was so hard. We then climbed a steep paved path that led up to the little village of Akaretta. When we arrived there, the rain stopped and the sun came out. In Akaretta is the casa rural that was in the movie The Way, the place where Tom met the woman from Canada. We took our ponchos off and then set out for Zuriain, where we stopped for lunch at yet another old bridge where I was able to get down most of my apple before the rain picked up again.
At the outskirts of this town, we had to follow the busy N135 for awhile and then we veered off the road and up to Irotz. Past Irotz, we climbed to a very narrow path through dense woods that was muddy and quite slippery. To our amazement, there were several mountain bikers on this trail also. They appeared to be a group of Italians who were having a loud adventure! Their presence made this part of the walk extremely hazardous due to the muddy conditions and narrowness of the trail. The bikers were not experienced riders, we also noted, because they didn’t really know what they were doing. And that also added to the danger. Finally, the bikers were gone, and after a few miles the sun peaked through just as we arrived at a rest area near Zabaldika. It felt good to sit down and grab a snack. Greg peeled an orange and we split it.
While we were resting, a woman whom we had encountered several times, caught up to us and we chatted with her for awhile. She turned out to be American, from Alaska. She told us of a companion that was walking along with her and with whom she had lost contact. After she gave us a description, we told her that we had seen the woman in Zuriain, and she appeared to be limping quite a lot. Before long, the Alaskan woman took off up the hill and we followed about five minutes later. Once again, the hill was quite steep and Greg got way ahead of me. The trail became quite isolated. Before long, nature called, and I really had to stop. I found a secluded spot, and it turned out well with all the stuff I was carrying in my pack (TP, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.) This was the first “outdoor occasion” of the trip, so I was wondering how it might work out.
After another half hour or so, I met up with Greg who was waiting near a tunnel/ bridge, and we headed up and down a big hill into Villava. It was a Saturday afternoon, and Villava appeared to be like a ghost town. Everything was closed up and the only activity was three kids playing soccer on the sidewalk in one block we passed by. It then occurred to us that it was “siesta” time. This was our first experience with this phenomenon where everything stops at about 4 pm until about 7 pm. The Calle Mayor stretched out for quite a while before we took a few twists and turns to head out of Villava past a large nursery. Greg was interested in stopping here, but we were really getting tired from the days’ walk and decided to continue on. The sun had gone back in, and the clouds were once again filling up the sky. The temperature dropped by about 15 degrees within a very short time as the wind picked up. We had to go through a large park-like area for approximately two miles before coming to the river (Rio Arga). We followed along the river for a short while until we came to the beautiful Puente Magdalena that led us into the fortress park that guards the city of Pamplona. From there it was just a short walk up into the city and to Plaza del Castillo where our hotel was located.