The third day of our Camino journey (if you count the day we arrived into St. Jean) began with us having a fabulous buffet breakfast at the hotel. On a long table in the dining room there were plates loaded with fresh fruit, meats, cheeses and pastries. We were provided with a selection of juices, tea, coffee, breakfast cereals – everything you’d want from a good continental breakfast. After filling our bellies, we rolled out of the hotel down the hill where we met up with my friend and her daughter to begin our walk to Zubiri.
After about twenty minutes walking, we found ourselves in the ‘Bois de Sorginaritzaga’, the Bosque de las Brujas, or ‘Witchcraft Forest’ which I know my daughter would have taken a great interest in. Witches were alleged to have gathered together in forests like this in the Navarra region. They danced and held their covens, and many of them were burnt at the stake for their beliefs. In reality these so-called witches were local women who made potions and remedies from plants and herbs within the forests.
The large cross above is supposed to have been installed by priests in order to purify the forest.
We passed through the small village of Auritz (or Burguete) and, had we known that Ernest Hemingway referred to it as being in “the most wickedly wild and savage territory of the Pyrenees” (Ref: Navarra Tourism Website), we might have walked a little faster.
We had a very peaceful walk through the village and the strangest thing we saw were these pairs of jeans hanging from a fence that were being used as planters.
We journeyed on for a while before stopping at a roadside café where we ordered tea and coffee, and slabs of Spanish tortilla with crusty slices of bread. Looking back at the helpings of tortilla, is it any wonder that I came home seven pounds heavier, despite all the walking I was doing.
We walked on forest trails and along narrow country roads sheltering from the hot sun where we could while enjoying the sights and sounds of the countryside.
Then, as we approached Zubiri the weather began to change and the sky turned grey overhead.
The first raindrops were falling as we knocked at the door of our booked accommodation at Txantxorena, a beautiful old style country house not far from the bridge into Zubiri.
I really couldn’t have asked for a nicer place to stay than Txantxorena and I’m only sorry I didn’t take more photographs. Downstairs there was a large comfortable sitting room and modern kitchen. Access to the bedrooms upstairs was through a high ceilinged hallway that was used to house a carriage or maybe a couple of farm animals in years gone by.
Upstairs, our cool antique style room had shuttered doors that opened out onto the countryside where we could hear faint sounds of chickens and hens, and the gentle patter of the rain falling. It was bliss just to lie on the bed, resting, after our long day’s walk, before getting showered and going for something to eat.
Pizza and pasta were the order of the evening before we returned to Txantxorena where we had a magical sleep before starting out the next day for Pamplona – the city I had been unlucky in getting to the first time I attempted the Camino.
But that’s a story for my next post…..