We arose early on Day 2. However some people had gotten up in the dark earlier, rummaged around with a light on their head, found their stuff and left before us. I remember it being cool and we needed light gloves. Leaving Cizor Menor, we decided on going to Punte La Raina – about 20 km. Today there would be a steep climb up to Alto del Perdon and then a steep descent.
We likely stopped for breakfast but may have had our own snacks. It soon became the norm for us to get up and walk 5 km or more before stopping for a continental breakfast. We then climbed to Alto del Perdon and surprisingly found some warm coffee at a canteen truck at the top. We then gazed back at Pamplona in the distance as we prepared to descend.
Why were we hiking the Camino de Santiago you probably wonder? Dave had just retired and Marie was a few years into hers. We wanted to bookend our work lives. Carrying what we needed on our backs, not knowing where we would be staying at night and getting physically exhausted every day, was a great segway to freedom. But equally important was spending time together to reflect on our faith, our lives, our relationships. And, we wanted to get closer to God. The Camino de Santiago is a thin place – one where we were more aware of God’s presence in the world and our daily lives. We were seeking a spiritual reawakening and renewal.
We continued through some beautiful farmland and vinyards. We saw some beautiful little churches and chatted with fellow pilgrims, some of whom we recognized from the before. It ended up being another dry and pleasant sunny day.
In the early afternoon we were getting hungry. We trudged into a town called Obanos. As we entered a lady exclaimed to us “Bocadillos. bocadillos!” Great we thought – there is a sandwich place around the corner that she is raving about. (bocadillo is snack or sandwich in Spanish). Continuing, we rounded the corner to see a procession of people following some priests around a church.
When we rounded to the other side of the church, to our amazement, we saw dozens of people congregated around open boxes of bocadillos. And furthermore, they were about to serve red wine, all for free. Needless to say we saw this a one of God’s little blessings on our Camino journey.
Turns out – the Church of San Pablo y Felicia – annually commemorates the Camino mystery of Felicia and her brother Guillén. In the middle ages, Felicia, daughter of the Duke of Aquitane, set out against her family’s wishes on a pilgrimage to Santiago. Seeing misery, poverty and disease all about her, she decided to stay on and help those in need. Her brother Guillen came looking for her to convince her to come home. He was unable to convince her to return. In a fit of rage he killed her with a knife. Feeling much remorse, he prayed to St. James (Santiago) as to what he should do. He decided toobecame a hermit and moved to a hermitage on a hill overlooking Obanos. To this day, this congregation has this annual celebration with food and wine in their honour- and we just happened to arrive there exactly at the right time!!!
More than satisfied, we continued on our way another 4 km and checked into the large Santiago Apostol refugio in Puente La Reina. We had a relaxing evening and called it a day.