Since we were in a Pension, we woke to our own time table. 7AM is a world of difference from 6 AM. The automatic thermostat worked as expected. Stone cold but we had plenty of blankets. Retrieved my passport which is kept to make sure the keys don’t go a pilgrimage. Wandered through the deserted streets that were crowded with everyone in town last night around 8-9. Spain is full of night owls. The town appears deserted much of the day especially early in the morning.
Met some familiar pilgrims looking for a place to get coffee and a pastry. We found the big gas station on the way out of town. These places are mini-restaurants and mini-marts. Coffee and pastry and stuff for lunch and we were off. Even though most pilgrims hit the road ahead of us, we soon found ourselves in the midst of a steady flow. So different than France. The morning rain was with us but we have adapted and expect it to rain or at least drizzle on us. The cold is still with us. Started the day at 6 Celsius…about 45 degrees.
One highlight was the Wine Fountain in Irache a km or so out of Estella. The local vintners provide a free spigot for the thirsty. Not great but well above $2.50 Chuck. The trick is to only take a sip at 9 in the morning when you will be hiking the next five hours. I do have that much discipline. We seemed to spend quite a bit of the morning next to the highway before we broke away. Most of the day was spent in the vineyards and wheat fields. The wind was in our face almost all of the way. It would have been tiring except that it provided special effects in the wheat fields. You would think that we were in the Wheat Sea. Briefly saw a rainbow when there was a break in the clouds.
We are traveling at about the same schedule as many familiar faces. We greet each other like old friends and the wish each other Buon Camino and depart. There is one Austrian girl with Dreads. Had to show her a picture of our own proud dread owner. She gets the same questions as Robbie. There are many more young people on the road and many more Americans. It is that time of year as kids get out of school. They seem to also have issues with blisters and sore muscles like their more senior compatriots. The Irish boys are limping. A half dozen blisters will do that to you. Some are resorting to duct tape. Ouch! The day went smoothly for us. We also get tired but we don’t need to think about a nap upon arrival. Showers and a beer take priority.
Bit of a climb to a mountain village called Monjardin where homes seemed to all have vegetable gardens terraced into the hills. It was only 10:30 so we decided to skip our planned lunch here. I resisted the temptation to open the wine donation that Peggy was carrying. It was on my mind for the rest of day’s hike which ended at 1:30 when we reached Los Arcos. Checked into an Auburgue run by some Austrians. Have our own room. Well worth the extra money to be able to sleep at night.
Hearing more stories about rowdy folks in the Auburgues. With youthful hikers there can be more problems. Especially in Spain where wine and beer are cheap and restaurants and bars are open real late, there can be issues. Some people are quietly inebriated while others get into arguments and loud discussions at 2 in the morning. We prefer to avoid those too frequent situations.
Ready for another pilgrim meal down the street. Unlike most Spanish restaurants that do not want to see you until eight or nine, places serving pilgrim meals will do it almost anytime. Basic three course meal of salad or spaghetti, followed by pork and potatoes and a dessert with a bottle of wine and bread for 10 to 12 Euros. Simple but good. Then it is to bed and getting ready for the next day.
A wine fountain! No kidding! That’s like arriving at Big Rock Candy Mountain. Maybe up ahead there are whiskey springs, too. Beautiful country, and you’re right about the Wheat Sea.
Pastry and coffee for breakfast, beer for lunch/afternoon refreshment, wine fountain for dinner. Such hardship! I had no idea. Cripes, here they only serve up water in Dixie Cups for participants. We have a lot to learn.