There are many sites of importance along the Camino Frances, for example, the tiny village of St Jean Pied de Port, the bridge at Puente la Reina, the Cruz de Ferro, and of course, the Cathedral in Santiago. But one site that is equally as important is the Alto de Perdon, roughly translated as the Hill of Forgiveness. Located 10km from Pamplona in Navarra, it is about 750 metres above sea level. There is no doubt that it is a tough climb, but the views are well worth it.
Your ascent starts at the town of Zariquiegui and the climb is gradual until you reach the top. That point you are greeted by a unique combination of the old and the new. You will see a sculpture depicting a number of Pilgrims either on foot or on horseback as they make their way along the Camino to Santiago. It is dedicated to pilgrims who have walked the Camino before us and was erected in 1996. If you look closely, you will see the below engraved into one of the monuments.
Donde se cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas
which translates into English as
where the path of the wind crosses that of the stars.
The pilgrim sculpture shares the Alto del Perdon with 40 wind turbines, which you can see for miles. On the Alto itself, you can see your next day’s walking ahead of you. People like to use the top of the Alto as a resting point to catch their breath after the climb and to prepare for the descent which can be trickier. There can be a great atmosphere up there on a good sunny day. If you are lucky, there will be somebody selling refreshments and the odd albergue owner making sure pilgrims know about their accommodation.:)
I walked from St. Jean Pied de Port to Belorado in September 2014. You can read about the day I walked up and over the Alto del Perdon here.