San Martin in the mountains
The bus had stopped right across the road from the church of St. Martin of Tours. Unfortunately I could not get inside, which is a pity because it contains quite an impressive Baroque Organ. So I stayed in the plaza for a few moments to get my bearings.
Here is cooler than Pamplona, nearly an hour's ride away. I was higher and the air so much fresher.
A pause to get the feel of the place and then I just wandered around for a bit. San Martin is the largest of three small towns in an area named Ataun (pronounced Ahtown). They stretch along the road for some kilometres. From the Beasain direction you have San Martin, San Gregorio and Aia (a short drive off the main road).
Normally the towns and places here have two names. The Basque name and a Spanish one. San Martin is different, in Basque it is, San Martin. The few people I met were very friendly and I found it quite a relaxing place.
Some roads enter the main one from the mountains. I took one and walked along it for a bit, looking for somewhere I could stop and eat my sandwiches.
On the way back to the church building (where the bus stops), I saw a fountain and filled my bottle with the water. It was so delicious that I drank a whole bottleful and refilled again. Mountain spring water. The small creeks (not the larger rivers) between many of the mountains have water that is drinkablejust dip your hand (or bottle in) and drink. Very refreshing.
While waiting for the bus (it was 15 minutes late), I spoke with a couple who live in the area and like to hike around in the steep mountains. It was they who told me about the drinkable water from the small streams that are all over the place.
Finally the bus arrived and I returned to Pamplona. The air in the Basque Mountains did me good. Loved it.
Update Jul 13, 2016
The bus route from Pamplona has been cancelled.
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