Thursday, 12 June 2014

Day 16. Pamplona to Iratxe. 39 mils

A shortish day in distance, but quite stressful due to the heat. It was cool and misty to begin with but the sun soon came through unfortunately.

I set off about 8 to get as much distance in before the afternoon. Getting through Pamplona was slow but I did manage to pass by the famous bullring. A few miles on, I had to climb over a range of hills called Alto de Perdon. A line of wind generators topped the ridge, and they were whiz zing round. But the only breeze I could feel was on the downhill after the summit. This was the old N111 road bypassed by a motorway (N12) which tunnels under the hill. But even the motorway was pretty quiet. It doesn't surprise me that Spain has had financial problems. They've certainly spent a lot on infrastructure such as improvements to very quiet roads.

Stopped in the little town of Puenta de Reina for a morning break.

Then followed an hour and a half of switchback with the road virtually to myself. Getting hotter. Finally I caught up with Brendan in the cafe of the 'Simply' super mercado in Estella. I had two cold drinks there while we discussed strategy. The plan of getting to Logrono seemed impossible in the heat, so we decided to stop at Iratxe about 3 miles further on.
Although this is a pilgrimage, it's not a penance. I think I am due a rest day, so maybe two shorter days will have to count instead. Tomorrow I'll set off even earlier and hope to travel a 50 mile stage before the heat sets in.

Encountered multitudes of foot pilgrims, but chances for conversation didn't arise. Their route is official, whereas the cycle route isn't. Sometimes they coincide, sometimes not.

Free wifi at the campsite but it only works close to the reception/supermarket/restaurant/bar building. So having an ice cool cerveza (i.e. beer) while writing my blog and checking my emails.

The weather forecast for Northern Spain continues hot tomorrow, then slightly cooler at the weekend with perhaps some rain on Sunday.

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