From Ventosa

May 14 - Ventosa - Day 7

Pamplona - Puenta la Reina - Estella - Los Arcos - Lagroño - Ventosa

177 km

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While I was in Pamplona I visited the its cathedral, spending the 3.50€ required to enter the building. It was a beautiful place, worth the required donation.

Pamplona Cathedral's
beautiful plateresque Altar.

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Pamplona Cathedral Altar Madonna.
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We had a long walk up a mountain southwest of Pamplona. On top we passed no less than 70 wind turbines lining the ridge of the hills. It was a grueling walk with a lot of wind to feed the turbines. But the reward was a pretty view from the top.

Pilgrims climb to the wind turbines
on a ridge south of Pamplona.

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Looking back to Pamplona from the turbine ridge.
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Turbines along the Pamplona ridge.
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A Japanese pilgrim heading south from this Pamplona ridge.
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With time, walking speed has settled into about 4 kilometers per hour (2.6 miles per hour) when the going is not too rough. That also is when my left leg is not arguing which it does now and then.

Every day has begun quite cool in the mid 40s, sometimes with a hefty wind. But all I have to do is go up a few hills and I am ready to take off the coat, even though the temperature has not gone up much. It has also been mostly sunny except for one day of rain.

In the beginning of the traveling, it became apparent that in many places evening resting places were at a premium and I found myself rushing to get one of those spots. Then one day I decided to let the Universe take care of that. I slowed down to live and experience the Camino at its pace, not mine. And I have yet to find no place in the inn at the end of the day. I'll admit some of those nights were on rather cold floors, but I slept well enough.

Many fellow walkers are on serious retreats--many are serious walkers--and many more are just here, not very serious about anything, just out for a long walk. One fellow walker, a serious seeker, recounted another's interpretation of the Camino, which is a bit less than 800 kilometers. The interpretations presents the Camino as a reflection of life.

  • The first 200 kms are the years of our youth where we are just getting into our environment and learning where we are and how to operate with ourselves and others.
  • The second 200 kms are our adolescent years when we are trying out our new wings and doing the wild things kids do.
  • The third 200 kms are our adult lives when we get down to the 'serious' things of making a living and making life happen.
  • The last 200 kms are our old age when we reflect on where we have been and what we have done and how we want to end.
  • The remaining kms are the walk to Finisterra on the Atlantic. This is the time after death.

Up and down, up and down, up and down. Oh, do you get tired of going up and down and dread the next hill in the beginning days of your walking. But then soon the Camino teaches that you must have ups in order to have a panoramic view of the world and you must have downs in order to recognize the beauty provided by the ups. Without ups and downs all is flat and soon becomes so monotonous.

The Puenta la Reina bridge built in the late 11th century
and still used as a walking bridge.
It is in a town with the same name.

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Santiago the pilgrim from in the Puenta la Reina church.
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The remains of a Roman road beyond Cirauqui. We followed this road off and on for most of this day. Sometimes it was almost whole, at other times it was a really difficult jumble of rocks to walk on. These could be the very same rocks St. Francis of Assisi walked on.
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A monastery stands on top of this Villamayor de Monjardín mountain in such a way that it resembles a portion of the female anatomy (it only needs to be pink). It makes one chuckle to think that those who choose celibacy have an entire home site looking like this!
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During the fourth day as I walked from Puenta la Reina to Estella, I had a serious "dark night of the body." I really questioned why I was beating up my body so much. Every step was painful, every smallest hill an agony, and every descent distressful. In time I came out of it. The next day I ate a lot more and felt a lot better. So I have been keeping myself well fed since. I still have my share of pains, but nothing like that day when I came close to packing it in.

As we left Estella the cemetary sing read, "As you are, so was I once. As I am so will you be."

I think I saw my first of many storks' nests on the dome of this church of Los Arcos on the fifth day.
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Santiago is also known as the "Moor slayer" as is so graphically illustrated in this sculpture on a church in Lagroño.
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The pleasant little hostel in Ventosa, a tiny village where I stayed the evening of my seventh day.
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A pilgrim walking around Ventosa's church.
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Though this ends in Ventosa, it was first posted in Burgos 6 days later.

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