The trip out of Pamplona led us through city streets busy with Monday-morning traffic. We traversed the Parc Ciudadela and crossed under the N-240 to reach the University of Navarre where many students greeted us with friendly nods. Before long we were out of the city limits and climbing a long hill up the road that leads to Cizur Menor. From there, it was out into the open spaces and a steep climb up to the Alto del Perdon (Hill of Forgiveness).
During this section we began to encounter fellow pilgrims that we would see time and time again – two middle-age Germans who walked at a rather strenuous pace, a German couple, two Canadian sisters, and an Australian pilot were just some of the recurring characters that would dot the landscape for us. Alto del Perdon was windy beyond belief. It was next to impossible to stand still so as to take a non-blurry photo.
Up to this point, the rain had held off except for a few scattered sprinkles. At the far west of the hill, the valley opened up below and we had a spectacular view of where we were to head for the rest of the day.
The trek down the mountain validated the warnings we had from the guide book that this is where many fall, because they are not careful and attempt to move too fast. Our muscles were tired and not fully recovered from the first few days, so we heeded the warnings and managed to stay upright. At the base of the hill, we found a bench and rested for lunch. Soon, we were past Uterga and Obanos and into Puente la Reina and our destination for the evening, the Hotel Jakue.
It seemed that most of those we had seen and briefly spoken to were also staying at the Jakue, so dinner became a cordial social event. Greg and I had a double Scotch at the bar waiting for dinner to be served.
Later, we all shared a buffet dinner and dining hall with large communal tables. Sitting to my right at the next table were the two Canadian sisters, Sandra and Cynthia. At breakfast, we were joined by the Australian pilot, whose name was Peter. Greg had spent a considerable time the day before talking to him along the way. Peter was walking the Camino by himself while his wife was in California visiting their daughter.