Before I left Pamplona I was told that in the whole month of May they only had 8 days WITHOUT RAIN!! That trend would continue today. As I said before, I went to mass at the Cathedral immediately before leaving and as I walked the streets I noticed that today in Navarra the whole province was experiencing a General Strike. The purpose of the strike was to protest against the austerity measures and also at the same time to protest in favor of Basque independence.
The first 5 km of my walk was solitary as I walked through the fortress section of the town towards the university on the outskirts of town. I was dreading the high point of the stage – El Alto de Perdón (The Height of Forgiveness) – and this was even though I had gotten pretty good climbing (I HAD NO CHOICE!). I knew that at the top would be a prize in the form of an iconic pilgrim monument but I was worried about doing the dangerous descent in the rain.
Just before starting the long climb outside of Cizur Menor I met a couple from the Canary Islands, Tonio and Nani, who were in their 60’s and we decided to walk together. I enjoyed their company and we talked about our homes and families. We even joked while climbing the Alto del Perdón that God would forgive all our sins if we got to the top. It was a half jest because the climb was challenging because of the wet and sometimes washed out condition of the trail. When we got to the top it was cold but spectacular because of the views of all the windmills that dotted the mountain ridge.
The rest of the way through the town of Uterga and Obanos were uneventful and at times rainy. We arrived at Puente La Reina and said goodbye as we had separate accommodations in the town.