We bid adios to Pamplona and commence the trek east, towards the Pyrenees. I’ll be glad to leave the heat behind, mountains are usually a good place to be on a hot day, especially when the UK media is broadcasting stories of a European heatwave they’re calling El Diablo. Excellent.
We had planned to make the Pyrenees today, but instead are side tracked by Jaca. Originally intended as a quick post lunch stop to see the Ciudadela, one of only two surviving pentagonal citadels in Europe, we’re charmed by its picturesque setting and settle instead for the rest of the day.
Jaca is an early example of women doing it for themselves, being a town that held off the Moorish invasion in 795, largely due to the bravery of its women folk. I do love examples of women giving no fucks, whatsoever.
There’s a consolation prize though, and as far as they go, it’s a good one. Deer, lots of deer, in the moat, including a sweet spotted fawn. Want, especially that little Bambi. They’re hiding in the shade making them a bit tricky to photograph, but I do my best. After hundreds of deer signs and seeing only one tiny deer, I’m very excited to see these.
It dawns on us at one point in the afternoon that this will be our last day in Spain. It’s this that seals our descion to stay – we can’t leave without a final farewell dinner.
Oh dear, we’re the only ones in the restaurant for a while. The locals don’t eat until 9 or 10. Works for me, Chris, not so much. *Sigh*. Our meals are a blend of Spanish and French influences, quite fitting, given our proximity to the Francia (as the Spanish call France) border.
Eventually we wander home under a twilight sky. I’m glad to be in France soon, but I’m really sorry to be leaving Spain, its natural beauty, exuberant flavours, delightful wine and welcoming people.
As a fitting finale, a golden scallop shell, the symbol of the Camino de Santiago, points our way home. Jaca is on one of many pilgrimage paths to Santiago de Compostela.