Day 5 : Zariquiegui – Cirauqui
Day 6 : Cirauqui…
On Monday night we had a lovely meal and retired to our beds full and happy. The Albergue is very nice and the owners are very kind… and it has a great shower and very comfortable beds but… there were 10 beds in a small space and the pilgrims chose to keep the doors and windows firmly closed.
I coughed and spluttered and sniffed and snuffed my way through the night. It was hot and stuffy and as the night went on the worse I felt. By morning I was exhausted and felt dreadful. As I looked up at the ceiling just a few feet above my head I spotted the reason for my discomfort…lots of black mould on the ceiling in my corner.
Once folks were awake we flung open the windows and doors and breathed the fresh air. Ah the relief! I know people don’t like being cold at night but I don’t understand the need for zero ventilation… but I’ve learned to never interfere with affairs of windows and doors.
We packed, skipped breakfast and headed off, up to the iron people on top of Alto de Perdon. The view from the top is simply stunning…and never ceases to impress.
We stopped in the next village for breakfast…cafe con leche and tostados and a very important boots off. Then on again we walked, through simply stunning countryside and again, it looks so different than before.
Yesterday we had talked about life and loss and today I thought of the people I love. The family and friends that are the colour and heartbeat of my life. I wondered if these people really knew how much they mean to me, how much I love them, how important they are to me? I wondered if for some reason I stopped living… if I never saw them again… would they know… would they be certain and safe in the knowledge that they had brought so much joy to my world? I hope so.
People often ask me why I come back here… why I don’t walk elsewhere in the world… or even why I walk. The answer is simple… I like the person I become when I’m walking. The path seems to smooth the edges of life. I can correct my short comings and somehow the important things in life shine through and it makes them even more precious… I think I just find myself on this path and I am better for that.
As we arrived at Puenta La Reina we spotted a stork building a nest and cluck cluck clucking it’s beak. We just watched this huge bird fly around and Jaqui said they must be strong to carry babies.. I thought she meant their own babies so I expressed surprise… “I didn’t know they carried their babies around” says I… and Jaqui and Sara fell about laughing… 30 seconds later I understood… duh.
And so we giggled our way through town. We stopped for a quick drink in a beautiful old bar and read about the history of this town before moving on.
Both me and Jaqui are nursing sore throats so we stopped in a pharmacy for some lozenges before heading off.
On we wandered through fields of wheat and barley and peas. A French pilgrim offered us chocolate as we passed.. it would have been rude not to accept. It threatened rain but whilst it tried, it was almost like it was too much effort and the clouds simply gave up and floated on.
We passed an old chap collecting snails… he only had a few kilos and was disappointed with his catch… I think he was hoping for more rain!
Along the path is a riot of colour. Poppies and rapeseed, wild roses and wild allium, sage and dandelion and honeysuckle, shrubs in full blossom, sweet Spanish broom and a host of flowers I don’t recognise. Their perfume fills the air and mingles with the scent of cut grass… it’s a beautiful day to be walking and I so love this region.
We stopped and peeled off a few layers before tackling the big climb into Maneru… where we stopped for lunch. The barman arrived with our enormous cheese and bacon baguettes that would have easily fed two but we all still managed to eat each and every crumb.
After this it was just a short hop and a skip to our final destination for the day. The girls are choosing the stops and it’s perfect for me… they like the small stops off the beaten track so I’m discovering a camino that I’ve not seen before.
We planned to stay the night in Cirauqui… another sweet little Albergue… and whilst the pilgrim talk is all about the difficulty finding beds we decided to chance it and not reseve and for us it paid off.
This was another fabulous little stop. We wandered around town before having a hot shower and going to the bar to wait for dinner.
We shared a wonderful meal in fabulous company, we even had live music from a Welsh mariner… and we laughed so much that our sides hurt… but as the night wore on I was feeling a little apprehensive that my throat was a little too scratchy for my liking.
We climbed into our top bunks… I have to say these are quite scarily high and no bars to hold or keep you from falling… We set up a chair to help with the ascent and descent… I’m resigned to top bunks for the rest of the walk and whilst I have no idea how I’m going to get out in the morning, I snuggled down and slept.
Sadly overnight my throat felt worse, I’m totally full of cold and this morning I knew I had to call it a day. For me there is no such thing as a simple cold and I can feel a heaviness in my chest and inflammation in my sinus… I’m vulnerable to serious chest infections and walking on would be foolhardy. I cried silently from my top bunk.
I told the girls… maybe a little ‘matter of factly’ because I didn’t want to cry… it would be crazy for them to stop too. I waved them goodbye (after handing over my toothpaste and moisturiser) and got a bus to Pamplona and onwards to Bayonne where my dear sweet husband is meeting me.
I’m torn between wanting to jump off the bus and turn back to Lorca and Estella and beyond… and just wanting a hot hot bath and my warm quiet bed.
It’s with some considerable sadness that I’m signing off for now… but this path has existed forever so I know it will be there waiting for me… just as I know there will be a next time.
Buen Camino Pilgrims