Puente La Reina:Navarra:Spain July 2018
After a good nights sleep in Pamplona, we are working our way back now to the campervan depot. As we were basically retracing our steps we decided to revisit the town of Puente de Reina which we had briefly visited right at the start and really liked how beautiful it was.
I think I told you before but Puente La Reina is on the river Arga and is important on the Camino trail as it’s where the 2 routes meet, one from France and one from Spain and then continue onto Santiago de Compostela. We parked and just strolled around the narrow streets that are so cool and welcoming. We ended up in having a coffee and a lovely pastry in the local coffee shop where all the locals were coming in to buy bread. It was a Monday and it’s lovely to see “normal” life going on around you. What we have noticed about Spain is that restaurants are for very needs and specific meals and times. So the coffee shop come bakery opened at 6.30am and closed at 2pm and only served breakfast and coffee with pastries. No lunch. Another restaurant might serve coffee and drinks from say 10am and then close at 1pm for lunch and open again at 4pm. You would have a drink there before lunch but it’s not open for actual lunch and it’s open for a drink in the evening and a tapas or snack but not for dinner. It works though as people move from one place to another.
From Puente, we drove on along the small road winding between villages. We stopped in Mañeru just outside Puente LR but it was really small so we moved onto Villatuerta. This is also very popular with walkers and we saw a few hostels and quite a lot of pilgrims walking through or stopping for a drink. It’s smaller than Puente but pretty with its church and square. We stopped to have a drink and the waiter spoke perfect English. He persuaded me to try a Kalimotxa. ( red wine and coke) something I would never ever order in SA and won’t order again but it was fun in the moment.
On we go looking at all these villages and wondering what it would be like to live here. Would you get bored easily? Or would you embrace the village life and live longer?
Our next stop was Estella. A much larger town with something going on…. it looked liked a market or festival so we decided to stop. Parking ….urggggg! What a mess? We drove around and around as all the parking was either full or underground. But then park4thenight came in handy and we managed to find a spot up a hill next to the sports stadium. It was rather hot now and when we arrived in town we decided a drink was in order. As we reached the square we realized why there were so many people around. The town was having a medieval festival with pageants, parades, music and lots of stalls all over. They were mostly closed now as it was lunchtime but we found a spot at a bar and watched the world go by. We were thinking maybe we find a campsite close by and stay here tonight. Then we could walk back in that evening and enjoy the rest of the festival. We saw a campsite that was 2km out of town so we headed back to the van to find it. On our way, we had an ice cream to help us face the walk back up the hill.
Here is where the story changes cos TomTom told us to go a ridiculous way up and down narrow streets and then on what looked like a route out of town. We saw signs, however, pointing to the campsite another way so we decided to follow that one. Anything the outcome was that it took us along a very long road next to scrub and eventually when we reached the campsite we thought Nah! This is going to be an awfully long boring walk into town. The new plan, we going to drive to Logroño and go back to that lovely campsite. Andddddd we can have pintxos for dinner.
So that’s what we did, we got exactly the same site as last time and settled in, did some washing and even started packing our suitcases. It’s always a dreaded job and it’s best to start 2 days before so as not to have that last night scramble. And the bonus about being in Spain is that we managed all of that and still walked into town perfectly in time for a drink at 8pm and dinner from 9pm…
By now we are nearly expert in pintxos eating. A few of our friends might say we are expert in eating everything! We chose a few old places and had a few new ones. I took a pic of one of the menu boards to give you an idea of the just the variety of seafood at one bar.
Once again we marvel at a Sunday night, and the streets are full of families and children sleeping in prams. No one is loud ( well the Spanish are generally loud talkers) but not out of hand or drunk.
On our way home we stopped at our favourite helado shop. Wow, the queue was across the street but we queued. Never known Chris to queue but he needed the time to choose his flavours as they have such amazing different types. A stroll home with our ice cream to end a perfect evening.
Tomorrow we needed to head to Iruñ ( Hondarribia) to find a spot to clean and final pack. ……(sigh)