Day 15 GR1 to Ujue

Short 17 kilometre walk today distinguished more by the destination than the journey.

Sunny weather, clear blue skies, but still cold.
Leaving Olite

Left Olite (having returned to the hotel to retrieve my hat) through a tiny arch in the wall of the Royal Palace. Great view of its huge crenelated gothic tower.

A flat road down pig alley
The first part of the walk, across the flood plain of the river, was completely flat. Pig farms were scattered across the countryside and their waste had been scattered across the fields.

There were hints that I might be reaching the end of my three day journey across the Navarre plain with higher ground beckoning in the distance. On the eastern horizon I could see what looked like a church and decided that this must be Ujue.
Transporting water south
After about two and half hours I crossed a huge brand new concrete conduit shipping water to who knows where and which seemed to define a boundary between the plain and hillier countryside. Getting higher and looking back I could make out Lagran, which I left yesterday and the mountains, now covered in snow, which I dropped down from three days ago.
After climbing around a hill I reached a road at the end of which was Ujue, a stunning hill top town set on a promontory jutting out over a valley towards the west. As you approach along the road the land drops away on both sides and to the north-east, you can see the Pyrenees, a long line of snow covered mountains.

Fortified church at Ujue
Ujue gets better the closer you get. It's a densely packed medieval town, narrow streets, treacherously covered in snow and ice, descending from the summit on top of which sits a building which is half church half fortress.

The Romanesque core dates back to 1090 and this in turn is surrounded by a Gothic superstructure built in the early 15th Century. I particularly like the carvings which adorn the older parts of these churches and I wasn't disappointed here.

Detail from the door
The restaurants are all closed tonight so I treated myself to a late lunch in a restaurant near the church with particularly good views of the Pyrenees. I started to eat at 2.30 but I was early, people were still arriving an hour later. I'm staying in a casa rural which is OK but which, despite a huge radiator, is freezing cold. I suspect I'm the first occupant for some time.

If you want to see where I went today then please go to the following link

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  1. Hi John,

    Our walk to Ujue from Olite marked our first day on the GR1 after most of a month walking the GR65 in France and on to Pamplona. The walk to Ujue was wonderful - lots of wild flowers here in early May and a relative lack of farm smells. We enjoyed lunch at the Meson del Torres amidst quite a diverse crowd. According to the nice woman owner of El Chofer she is the only place to sleep in town at this time of year (we did not verify that). We have discovered there is now a hotel in Gallipienzo Antiguo so shall split the long stage 2 there.

    Regards, Nathan

    1. Hi Nathan

      Thanks for the comment

      I remember the woman very well at El Chofer she was very kind. I also remember trying to get food in the evening in Ujue - they didn't start until 10-30. Lunch is much the better option. But what a place Ujue is - I was there at fiesta time once and it was very lively.

      Great news about the hotel, so nice when one opens up rather than closes and a hotel at Gallipienzo Antiguo really improves this section of the walk. Tomorrow is Sos for you and then some wild walking!

      I've had a few helpful updates this week so I'll put them up on the blog tomorrow