Thursday, November 5, 2009

Puente La Reina to Estella

Following the Flechas - Heading out over the eponymous Puente La Reina

Pass fields of asparagus being harvested and I hope George, temporary guardian of my vegetable patch at home, is keeping an eye on my asparagus bed. Here piles of asparagus spears are discarded simply because they are a bit bendy. This seems a little harsh and I want to go down and 'liberate' a few handfuls but am 'somewhat hampered' by the mud

Harvesting asparagus from the red mud of Navarre
Though the addition of 6kgs of red mud to each each foot results in a fantastic aerobic workout-its something I would rather pass up the next time. We have to clean each others boots as you can't actually lift up your feet to do the job yourself. I wonder, when I''m on scrape duty, if I'm the boy scout doesn't that make Frances the pony? But no matter how many times we scrap them clean our boots soon revert into big red mud-balls.
The trick is to keep going because when we stop we start to slide backwards-sometimes these unintentional glissades can look oddly graceful. But its penitential walking and I think we must have done something awfully bad in a former life.
However my day is brightened immeasurably by the site of a rainbow hued, lycra clad cyclist trying to push his bike up a mudslide, his problem is compounded as he's wearing those "clack clickity clack" plastic shoes that bolt onto the pedals but have no grip whatsoever. I have to pause to fully enjoy the spectacle. Today there's no casual 'Hola' cast behind when speeding past us in fact we leave him far behind.....schadenfreude at its worst-I'm afraid I'm a bad pilgrim and getting worse.

'The mud is always drier on the other side of the track'
Of course hubris dictates I pay for my lapse, and in fact pay quite heavily- Having unpacked for a picturesque lunch break in Cirauqui I end up leaving my beloved Paclite over-trousers on a bench where we ate. It seems like a disaster and my face is a stormy as the sky for about 5km-but even I have to smile when 'my cyclist' rushes past us and wishes us a heartfelt "Hola buen camino".
The approach to Estella has a 'backdoor' feel that is a little off putting, but we find the town itself delightful. The temperature has fallen so we bundle up and go for a good wander around as there is so much to see here. After a day wearing the equivalent of lead diving boots its a joy to skip along like spring lambs in our sandals (well sort of)

Doorway in Estella/Lizarra with a crescent moon shape for the knocker plate.

Nell admiring the Doorway of Santo Sepulchro

There is something awfully french about these figures

Estella has lots of bars, cafes and artisan chocolatiers so, as it would be rude not to, we go on a bit of a chocolate binge. In the Plaza Fueros I find the perfect easter egg for Stephen, its enormous and, just in case one might be peckish having consumed 20kgs of chocolate,it has a white chocolate chicken inside.

Even I couldn't eat an egg that big... but I might enjoy trying!

Eat in a noisy little bar where everyone is glued to the bull fighting on the TV. Launching into a damp liberal 'gosh isn't that appalling' I notice Frances face alight with interest-well I know my rant hasn't been that good and it dawns on me that she's hooked by the bullfighting! A little shamefaced about admitting it at first she says finds it 'intriguing'. Intriguing my neck that's just a lay-by on the way to becoming devotee, and the fact that somehow we spend the rest of the evening there proves it.

Feel we are getting into the pilgrim groove of things now and that our regular life, though safe and ticking along waiting for us to get back, is very far away.

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