far too much writing, far too many photos

[Continued from entry of 20 March]

Sunday’s activities had been scheduled to start early. I was up, showered, shaved and packed by the time Curtis called. When I stepped out of the hostal, bags in hand and overjoyed to be free of the place that had deprived me of two nights’ sleep, I found a beautiful Navarra morning waiting — cool, sunny, skies clear. Curtis and his friend Javier found me, we retired to a bar for coffee and something to eat, found our way to Javier’s little car and took off.

I was fatigued enough from lack of shuteye that I could only produce the most basic Spanish, though I understood 98% of whatever conversation was underway. Beyond that I didn’t have sufficient energy to do more than sit in the back seat and watch Pamplona pass by as the car headed west out of the city. The western reaches brought a sudden expanse of newly constructed apartment buildings and housing developments, then land being prepared for further development, then rolling fields spreading away to hills and ridges lined with huge wind generators. There were times when the Navarran landscape reminded me of Ireland, other times that Vermont or Scotland came to mind, but the sight of the wind generators gave the land a unique look, a combination of elements I’d never seen anywhere else. They stood in long, sinuous lines, riding the spines of the hills, stretching off into the distance for what looked like miles. As the road wound up in elevation and spun around a curve, Javier took a small side road that brought us up along a number of the generators. Javier parked, we got out.

The land stretched down and away on either of the ridge. To one side, fields of various shades of green, clusters of houses, and off in the distance large, looming peaks –- the Pyrenees; to the other side, more verdant, gently undulating country, stretching itself out beneath morning sunlight until it reached another ridge of hills, more wind generators.

We walked up the road where Curtis began acquainting me with part of the reason he was about to drag me around the countryside: el Camino de Santiago –- the way of Santiago, otherwise known as the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, a hike he’s done not once, not twice, but three times. A long hike. A long, long, long hike, through rugged, mountainous terrain.

The camino intersected the road we were on, coming up the ridge on the side toward Pamplona, crossing over and heading away to the west. At the point of intersection stood a metal sculpture of many people walking, beginning in medieval dress, ending in contemporary dress (that’s what Curtis claimed anyway; they all looked the same to me — silhouettes of walking pilgrims). Above them were stars, referring to the camino itself, sometimes called the Milky Way. Nearby stood a large stone monument commemorating the camino. And as we stood there checking it out, I began hearing the sound from the nearest wind power generator — not a whooshing exactly; stranger than that, more otherworldly. Javier said a friend of his had come up there with a dog, and when they approached the wind generator, the dog began running back and forth, back and forth, as if the sound of enormous vanes turning were driving it a bit crazy.

[Continued -- and completed -- in entry of 26 March]

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