We left Pamploma in the wee hours of the morning while it was still dark. It seemed a bit strange to be in hiking gear with walking poles etc. clacking our way through a major city. Surprisingly though there was more hustle and bustle from the locals than one would expect; runners, walkers, bicyclists, some shop keepers opening up early. We were tempted to stop for a coffee, LOVE my morning coffee, but knowing that that gets the bladders going we resisted. Probably more info than you need to know but hey little things like this make for a more comfortable hike or the exact opposite. We opted for comfort.

Our first stop would be Puente la Reina. There would be more beautiful scenery. There were also more than a few “gird your loins” moments and I doubt we are through with these.

A group of peregrinos just ahead of us.

Marc tired but composed.

You know who mugging it up for the camera.

Two Canadian friends and two other Americans we chummed around with from time to time.

First we visited Zariquiegui and the Church of San Andrés.

Main altar at the church of San Andrés in Zariquiegui.

From there we ventured to Alton del Perdon which many of you will recognize from the movie The Way.

Descending from there we arrived to finish the day at Puente la Reina where we were to stay the night.

Bridge at entrance to Puente la Reina.

Us on the town’s bridge the morning we were leaving.

After a good night’s sleep  we set out for Villatuerta. On the way there we passed a modern aqueduct and during a passage through a refreshingly cool tunnel had to stop to attend to Ed’s feet.

I have to admit I thought we had prepared and trained pretty well for the Camino. My feet however had something else to say about that. But… onward and upward.

After that brief respite we passed through the town of Lorca and treated ourselves to a light lunch. Marc chose a ham sandwich and I chose a regional favorite, a frittata with cheese and meats. Of course we washed it all down with some good ole San Miguel beer.

Good eats after lots of hiking. Ed’s feet enjoy another break.

After this lunch and bit of a rest we made our way into Villatuerta Puente meeting along the way a new friend, Nancy, who we had supper with back in Pamploma.

Ed and Nancy pausing for Marc to grab a shot.

After crossing the bridge that led into town we ascended a steep side street to find our albergue La Casa Magica… which did live up to its name.

Street leading up to our sleeping digs.

Entrance to Casa Magica.

Our dormitory sleeping digs.

Beautiful view from our dorm window.

For our Buddhist friends we discovered a delightful meditation space in a vaulted and stone lined crypt beneath the albergue. It had a huge stack of zabutons and zafus for any to use.

A gem of a surprise which we used to sit for a bit. Too inviting to pass up.

We chose to stay two days at Casa Magica so we could fit in our much anticipated side trip to visit the Monasterio de Santa Maria la Real de Iranzu. We’ll let the pictures we took there be it’s own post and story.