Hiking Inn to Inn
Pamplona is the capital of Navarra, a semi-autonimous province, the south being more Castilian, the north, Basque. The Basque are a fiercely independent people. Linguists tell us that the Basque language, Euskara, is one of Europe´s oldest and has no know relationship to any other language. It is as if the basque people were always living on this land. Picasso´s painting, Guernica, portrays the bombing of the city, the horrors of modern war, and the savage repression of the Franco regime.
The trail from Pamplona heads west, climbing 1,000 feet to Alto del Perdon and then descends into farm country - harvested cereal fields and vineyards heavy with deep purple grapes. Such beautiful country. Plowed fields of brown soil were dense with rocks, but this is a fertile land. Autumn gardens are rich with cabbage, onions, peas, and tomatoes. Orchards of figs, apples, and pears are heavy with fruit.
I stopped for the night in a small village, Obanos, at a casa rurales. These are village houses and farms that offer rooms for pilgrims. My ancient hostess escorted me to my room. She was almost as wide as she was tall in a brown peasant dress with heavy wool socks and sandals. Her brown face and hands were weathered, and her black hair was twisted into a knot at her neck. She had a kind smile.
She spoke no English, so we depended on my rudimentary Spanish and hand gestures, laughing at our confusion. ¨¿Esta es un mercado para fruta?¨ ¨No, mercado is cerrado. Es Domingo.¨ Of course it was Sunday. ¨No problema, gracias.¨ She left me and returned later with four beautiful peaches.
Her house was old. My room was round with a smooth stone floor that slanted to the center where it looked like there was once a drain. The walls were plastered white, but sections of ancient stones were left exposed. Rough dark wooden beams supported the ceiling. An old barrel and a wine press were housed in an alcove. Perhaps this room was once used for pressing wine.
I had a porch with a chair and table next to the garden and the chicken coop. That night I dined on a half a bagette from my pack and delicous peaches.