On my way … Day 4 Pamplona to Puente la Reina

hill of forgiveness

Wednesday, May 16, 2018, Sunny and Windy 25 kms … 16 miles

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust


After a shower, laundry and a little siesta, we headed out to explore the city. Like I said, we had decided to skip a rest day and continue walking the next day. So, this would be our look at Pamplona.  At the hostel, we ran into some of our friends; they actually were in the nook just next to ours. It was Tim, Rodney, Tomce and Daniel.   We decided to join them and headed out to find dinner, have some drinks and explore this city. They had chosen to rest the next day, so let’s just say they stayed out a little later than Cale and I. That is one hard part of the Camino; you connect with people, make friends but then your paths take different directions. But isn’t that life. We had a great time. There is still much to see in Pamplona…next time! 

Café Iruña

One little tidbit of history and information, but first a quote from Ernest Hemingway! 

“Good People, if you think about it a bit, have always been happy people.” ~ Ernest Hemingway 

Café Iruña is a meeting point for locals and all visitors who want to get up close and personal with the experiences of the famous writer, Ernest Hemingway. He began writing many of his books here in his favorite place, Café Iruna.  Books like, “Party, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell tolls, The Old Man and the Sea were all begun here while enjoying friends in Café Iruna. 

In a space adjacent to the Café, there is “El Rincón de Hemingway,” a cozy and quiet corner, with photographs of the time in which the spirit and image of the writer Ernest Hemingway dominates…there also is his emblematic life-size statue, a statue made in patinated bronze by the sculptor D. José Javier Doncel. 

It is one of the most exclusive places in Pamplona due to its history and tradition, which offers the possibility of emulating the figure of the American writer, while enjoying a good coffee, a snack, a drink or a drink. a nice conversation. 

This exquisite space thus becomes a must for Navarrese and visitors. A privileged place from which to enjoy the tranquility and warmth of the Old Town. Source: https://cafeiruna.com/historia/ 

When we returned to the hostel, there were a group of young people playing a card game. Now Cale and I love cards.  We actually had a set with us. I had been hoping that Cale might find younger people to hang with and not just be with Mom the whole time, so I was happy when he decided to join them in their game. And guess who the kids were? The universe had brought us together again. Luca and Natalie from Argentina, Merci and Anni from Spain and Sue and Minh from South Korea. It’s amazing when you see Gods hand at work! 

Again, thank you Jesus! 

As they played the game, I decided it was time to retire. 

Day 4: Pamplona to Puente la Reina 

Today’s route will be a mixture of countryside and busy roads. Today we also will be crossing the “The Hill of Forgiveness.”  This is the well-known hill which has the famous iron statues of pilgrims and windmills at the top.  

We were so excited because today was our first day of sunshine and warmer temps. I think it was in the 50’s and 60’s. It was beautiful. 

Since some of our friends were staying an extra day in Pamplona, we said our goodbyes the night before and the two of us headed out the next morning… not sure where the younger kids were or if they were even walking today.  As it goes on the Camino, just wait and see. 

So now it was time to make it out of this big city. But to my surprise, Pamplona was beautiful. Lots of trees and the Camino was mainly walking through parks. It was nice. We eventually made it out of town and found a little café for breakfast. As you leave the city, you are in a valley. There in front of you is the mountain, or “hill of forgiveness.”  It was intimidating!!!  I wouldn’t think about that just yet, I told myself…just look around.  It was beautiful.  Fields of grain as far as the eye could see.  All green and lush. 

The Valley 

As we were walking, we spotted Luca, Natalie, Merci and Anni up ahead. I figured we would catch up to them sooner or later. Cale and I continued walking through the fields. We did catch up to the group and started to walk with them. We learned that Luca and Natalie were walking to Santiago but Merci and Anni only had a week so they were walking to Logrono.  

As we were walking, I was thinking about the Alto de Perdon, “hill of forgiveness”. Not because of the hill but what it represented. Forgiveness! As I said earlier, I knew deep down part of my Camino was a healing process.  

My prayers 

A few years prior, I had been betrayed by a dear friend and employer. More than betrayed but also unjustly accused. I don’t want to get into the story because that is not what I want to focus on, but I was hurt. Hurt badly.  For years, I was struggling to understand and forgive. The betrayal ended a beautiful friendship and the “cross” as I called it, was heavy. I knew God had me and I knew He was carrying me and guiding me and I also knew it was time to forgive. Truly forgive! 

So, as we continued to walk, I prayed. I fell into a silent walking meditation and prayer. I prayed to forgive, but how? Jesus, I trust in you, was my mantra for years, especially during those tough days and weeks, during my “cross”.  I started with that, I prayed my rosary, I prayed my Divine Mercy chaplet. I then walked in silence and listened. Listened to my heart, listened to Our Lord! 

I asked for the guidance, the guidance to be able to let go and forgive. Again, I walked in silence. 

I heard our Lord, “give them to me” So as I walked, I gave them to Our Lord. I asked the Lord to take this burden from me and to be with them. I gave them to Jesus, as Jesus tells his disciples.  “Shake the dust from your feet and walk away” 

I asked for healing of my heart, again I walked in silence. 

By now, we had started the climb. It was steep and it was tough. It’s funny how even after the other days, today was still tough. I walked at a slower pace than the younger group, so this gave me time alone. I offered this up in prayer! 

Jesus, please heal my heart. Show me how to forgive and please open my heart. I know that the “cross” has closed my heart a little and I don’t like this. I want to love; I want to trust again. Please Jesus show me how to trust again! I trust in you, but how do I place my trust in people again. Please Jesus show me. 

I walked in silence. As I walked, I heard Our Lord say to me, “open your heart, I need your heart!” Wow, tears of joy were flowing! 


Just about this time we had made it half way up the hill and I was hungry and tired. We made it to Zariquiegui. The café was packed, we squeezed our way in and found a table. A little difficult for a party of six, so we sat where ever we could. Perfect break for lunch and the restroom. My legs were tired and my feet needed the break because after this we had a steep 2 kms to make it to the top.  

My Bocadillo de pollo (chicken sandwich) and café con leche was delicious. A nice thing along the Camino is the sandwiches are on the larger size, so I ate half and wrapped the other half in a napkin and stuck it in my backpack. A little snack for down the road! 

After our break, we all headed out! Shortly before reaching the top of the hill there is a modern fountain which commemorates the legend Fuente Reniega, the Fountain of Denial. According to the legend an exhausted and thirsty pilgrim was tempted by the devil.  The pilgrim of course resisted and was reward by the appearance of the Apostle dressed as a pilgrim who showed him the location of the spring. 

As we climbed the toughest part, all of us were just chatting, laughing and having a good time.  

The top 

We made it, what a reward at the top. Beautiful views! It was a little crowded because tour buses drive pilgrims to the top as well, we just maneuvered around them and made our way to the statues for pictures. It’s easy to want to judge the pilgrims on buses, especially after you just walked up a hard path.  A little reminder … not everyone can walk the Camino, some can only experience the Camino this way. Lord, let me remember not to judge.  

Cale, Luca, Anni, Natalie, Myself and Merci!

The Route down 

The route down was tougher than the path up. The decent is steep, uneven and is composed of loose gravel and stones.  Very slippery. We took it slow so no one would get hurt. We actually didn’t talk much on the way down other than helping each other if we found an easy path to take.  

When we made it to the bottom, the rest of the day was fairly easy and gentle. The kids were ahead of me and I met a guy named Mike from Ireland. We walked through a few more small towns before we arrived at our resting place in Puente la Reina. As we stopped in Puente la Reina, I said my goodbye to Mike. He was going to keep walking.  

The Hostel 

Our hostel: Pilgrims’ hostel of the Repairing Fathers, it had 94 beds and was only 5 Euros! 

As we were checking in with everyone, guess who walked through the door. Sue and Minh! Everyone was so happy! As we talked, we planned to shower, wash clothes and go get some tapas.  

As we were enjoying our tapas and Vino Tinto we made plans for dinner! Did I mention the Vino Tinto here along the Camino? Usually, 2 Euros a glass or I even had one for 50 cent euro!! I love my Vino!  

Tonight, Luca, Natalie, Merci and Anni were going to make dinner in the Hostel. We all split the cost. This was the cheapest way to go. All the hostels have amazing little kitchens you can use, with all the pots and pans and utensils. All you have to do is buy the groceries. I believe this meal cost us roughly 3-4 Euros per person and this included Vino! 

After our tapas, we returned to the hostel to finish our laundry. We had time to rest and I headed over to Benediction at the church. 


Dinner was a surprise! Just as we were sitting down to eat, Sue and Minh walked in, so we invited them to join us. The beginning of our group! Little did we know, that most of us would now walk the remaining 30 days together! Yay!! 

We also planned to take turns cooking each night. This way each night we would get to experience a food from where you were from. So now Cale and I had to think about what could we cook for our American meal! Something good! 

My journal: 

Wednesday, May 16th…Pamplona to Puente la Reina 25 kms… 16 miles. Sunny and windy but nice, no rain! 

First full day of sun/clouds. Climbed the Hill of Forgiveness. Very emotional and prayerful day. My heart was opened today … as I was praying, I heard Our Lord say to me, “open your heart, I need your heart!” Wow, tears of joy were flowing! 

As we were walking today, I met Mike from Ireland. Nice guy. I love how many amazing people you meet on the Camino. I also love how deep the conversations get as you walk. Went to Benediction tonight at the church. As I sat in prayer, I kept asking Jesus, why, why, why am I walking this Camino? Is it healing of my heart? Is it learning to forgive? What lesson do you want me to learn? He said, “stop asking and just walk. Be with me. Be in the moment, walk these days with me” 

Wow! Hello, there again me being a little human was getting in the way. Why do I need a reason? Just be with Him! How simple is that? 

We had so much fun cooking and eating in the Albergue with everyone.  

“For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait” ~ C.S. Lewis 

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