Camino Frances Day 3 – Zabaldiki to Puente la Reina

Day 2 Overview

Todays itinerary sees us walking on Day 3 from Zabaldiki to Puente la Reina with a stop in Pamplona, famous for the running of the bulls.

What an experience we had last night. The Albergue Parroquial de Zabaldiki was a great place to say and a real experience with a communal dinner and lots of pilgrims but there is a but… There were about 12 of us in the albergue and the noise was absolutely amazing. I got some advise from the pilgrim in the bunk next to me and actually learned how to put my ear plugs in. After that it was plain sailing and I had a greats nights sleep until I woke at 5am. The albergue ‘anthem’ was still going strong so I decided to get up and chill in the downstairs refectory area.

We set of at 7am with Bob and Burny feeling giddy. I tried to have a good work orientated conversation with them and got this look. That chat wasn’t going to happen… The walk from Zabaldiki first thing in the morning was really nice and quite cool. We knew we had some road walking today as we headed towards Pamplona.

pilgrims walking to Puente de la reina

After passing through some more small towns on the way in Vallava and Burlada we were walking on the outskirts of Pamplona.  We arrived very early in the morning and made the decision not to stop and explore the city but power on and head up Alto de Perdon. I wanted to see Pamplona but decided to explore when we walk this section of the Camino Frances again.

We made our way to the far side of the city and found a cafe to have breakfast which was the normal pilgrim fair of coffee, toast and jam, which was really nice. As we left the cafe the waitress was putting out some fresh pastries that smelt amazing and upon inspection turned out to be fresh Pain au Chocolate. We had to have one and they didn’t disappoint. They we’re absolutely delicious.

We left Pamplona and started out on a 14km ascent up Alto de Perdon or Hill of Forgiveness. As you start the walk it appears majestically on the horizon with its 40 wind turbines and is impossible to miss. I am looking forward to seeing the steel sculptures on the summit, one of the most recognisable camino symbols on route to Santiago de Compostela. We passed through Cizur Minor and the lovely small village of Zariquiegui, where one of the scenes from the movie The Way was shot and took a break for coffee. I am starting to really like the small Cafe con Leche on this trip.

As we approached the summit the views were magnificent.

Alto de Perdon
the view from alto de perdon

At the summit of Alto de Perdon there is a steel structure erected in 1996 by Vincent Galbete. It is a pilgrim structure depicting the old and the new. The sculpture depicting a number of Pilgrims either on foot or on horseback as they make their way along the Camino to Santiago and contains old pilgrims looking for the way as well as newer pilgrims.  

It is dedicated to pilgrims who have walked the way. On the sculpture there is an inscription with a beautiful statement:

Donde se cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas meaning "Where the path of wind crosses with the stars"

Alto de Perdon
Play Video about Alto de Perdon

We spent some time at the summit contemplating and taking in the views as well as watching the wheat fields blow gently in the wind. Its Day 3 on the Camino Frances with over 3 weeks to go until we get to Santiago. Is it always going to be as good as this ?

I loaded my Osprey Talon 33 backpack back on and we were literally going back down hill again. The path down to the next village of Uterga starts off with a steep climb down in a dry river bed.  Top Tip: Take you time here as walking on large rocks could be a real ankle breaker. better to be safe than sorry.

After Uterga it is pretty easy going on the flat passing through the villages of Muruzabal and Obanos before airing into Puente la Reina. My Pilgrim friend, Burny, even took the time  to have a foot break in one of the many fountains along the way

Puente la Reina is a beautiful little Navarran town that centres around its Romanesque, 11th century bridge. It is where the Camino Frances and Camino Aragonese come together and an important stopping point on the Camino de Santiago.

Pilgrim resting his feet near Puente de la reina

I even managed to get a snap chilling on a Camino marker 🙂

walking The Camino de Santiago path

Walking the Camino Frances Day 3 – Zabaldiki to Puente la Reina has been a fabulous walk and one which will live long in the memory. After 3 days and over 100km so far I have made some mental notes that I feel are very important for any Pilgrim contemplating walking the Camino to Santiago.

Note to Self:

  1. Plan ahead and buy food. The Spaniards don’t get up early
  2. Wear sun cream. It can get really hot
  3. Don’t try and walk too far, too early. 
  4. Take is steady and get your ‘camino’ legs

We are staying in the Albergue Puente la Reina which is a really nice albergue and we even managed to get 2 rooms so Bob the Pilgrim has his own room tonight. We showered and washed some clothes, hung them out to dry and set off out to get a few beers and play some cards.

It was a Sunday afternoon in Puente la Reina, the sun was shining and all the locals were out socialising. We were at one bar taking it all in as the locals were singing songs, drinking and having fun. A real local experience and one that I hope happens as we walk the length of the Camino Frances.

Albergue Puente la Reina

Laundry, Terrace, Lounge, Vending, WiFi, Kitchen

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Great for Pilgrims
Spacious terrace
Great service
 

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