Puente la Reina, Spain
Early morning hike with elevation gain and steep descent into Puente La Reina. We started in the dark about 6:15 a.m., to avoid the afternoon heat in high 30s Celsius, 96 F. We watched the sun rise behind us as we climbed to the Windmills and then the magical Mt. Perdon Pilgrim Sculptures. It seemed like we walked beside miles of Sunflowers in the light of the new morning sun, a spectacular sunrise, illuminating the Way, leading us up the mountain.
The 40 turbines are 40 meters high on this first Wind Farm in Navarre. After the farm started up in 1996, Sculptor Vicente Galbete created the sculptures as a tribute to pilgrims and the many ways they made their way to Santiago through the centuries.
According to the sign at this monument, there was once a chapel and hospital here. When pilgrims reached the summit, they received forgiveness for their sins and their spiritual health was assured in case of death before they arrived in Santiago.
The idea of Forgiveness of Mt. Perdon was especially meaningful to me and very different from the early pilgrim’s religious goal. I knew about the Camino for years, and being a walker and hiker, I longed to be part of this journey. However, I found conflicts in my desire to walk this pilgrimage and the historical implications of my Jewish ancestors and the Spanish Inquisition. Global populations and immigration, amid intolerance, terrorism and hate crimes that plague our planet, are a reality. Also a reality are the acceptance and love expressed on the Camino. And a growing realization in these changing times that we are one world together. I walked the Camino because it’s the twenty-first century and I can. And my spiritual understanding of our world was enriched and broadened by my Camino.)
My walk inspired me to write a poem, “Walking the Way to Santiago” featured at the end of this blog.
Yesterday our Albergue was a good location with tasty food, clean showers, washing facilities and friendly hikers, but not good sleeping conditions. Five bunks in a very, very, very small room. Hardly any space between, one window and over 90 F during day to heat it up. Ten hikers, a little snoring and when someone opened the door to the hall to use the bathroom in middle of night, the sensor light went on. One sleepless night. At 3:30 a.m. I quietly gathered my pack and sleeping bag and tripping the light sensor once again, made a sleeping space on the clean, hard tile floor in the laundry room. This is one time I wished for a mat.
Today our reserved Albergue is in a good location again, quite spacious and clean. Five bunks for ten people. I returned from the laundry and all the beds had been filled with guys. What a surprise. Yikes! Another locker room. Good luck though. When I asked the receptionist at the desk she said it was a men’s dorm and a mistake. Our phone reservation lost in translation. Now I’m a happy hiker in a smaller room with 3 other women, one who graciously moved to the top bunk. Off to Lorca, mañana, and I will have a private room en suite. A night’s sleep is worth every euro.
There is a saying, “The Camino Provides.” Wishing each of you a Buen Camino.