Distance: 23.8km, Steps: 32,309 Time include breaks: 7.5 hours.
Today started with a reluctant roll out of bed & slow pack up. We both had hardly any sleep due to my constant coughing throughout the night.
We made our way out of town stopping at the only open cafe for breakfast. It was an overcast day, humid, not cold. I noticed we had become part of a bigger Pilgrim group on the Camino, as most of our starting group were a day ahead now.
The morning was an easy walk through pastures & vineyards. SHOULD of been easy but the lack of sleep made the walk up hills so hard, we were almost crawling up the hills whimpering like pathetic weak Pilgrims that we were.
We passed through 4 little villages, each one dead quiet with not a soul to be seen. I think the Spanish country folk sleep through the day, then come out to party in the early evening. One lovely hilltop village called Cirauqui was a joy to visit, its lovely quaint narrow street ways that went up & around, a seemless maze of them. Through the archway of a building there was an ink pad & stamp for us to stamp our own passports with. I asked Mr D to take a photo of me but he was tired & grumpy. He stamped his passport, barking out a NO! And took off ahead. Hmmmmm, fine then!
One guy had set up a table in the middle of nowhere, filled with fruit, crackers & drinks for a donation fee only to help him build this amazing rest area for Pilgrims in the bush by the track with benches, hanging shells & a bookcase with books. Mr D’s only comment was “yeah but it doesn’t have a toilet!” I’m sure Mr D missed the point……
I stopped for a sweet doughnut in some random underground bar cafe by the side of the road. Even that didn’t give me energy. I staggered up the hill huffing & puffing into the next village & there was Mr D – comatosed on the ground opposite a little cafe. Upon noticing me, he staggered to his feet & declared; “we have lunch here!” Mr D had coke and lentil soup while I had coke and freshly made chicken paella. It was absolutely delicious & hard to get going after that.
The remainder 9kms was near highways & more pastures. We were two walking zombies as we made our way into Estella. We ended up at a donation run Albergue. It is called a Donativo Albergue so Pilgrims pay what they feel like paying for a bed. The money goes to some kind of charity. Mr D’s heart was palpitating hard with this rather stressful new experience. The volunteer lady that was running the show was saying “sit down, there’s no rush, take your time” then proceeded to tell us off for not filling in our details on the Pilgrims passport, then for not having dates on our stamps, then for not getting our passports stamped on our rest day, on and on she went getting up Mr D’s goat with the lectures. I just wanted to leave & find another place. So we settled anyway in the ladies bunk room not the men’s bunk room as couples can sleep in the same room. There was another man in the ladies bunk room. And that volunteer lady expressed that she wanted me to stay in the men’s room! Well there is still 5 empty beds in the ladies room & I’m not moving!
We calmed ourselves with a beer & trip to the Farmacia for another cold / flu medicine to add to my growing collection. Well we had the beer while we waited for the Farmacia to open by the lovely small stone bridge. I hope this medicine works a charm & I fall dead asleep tonight. But with one eye open as Mr D has already threatened to put me in a wooden box & put a couple of nails in due to my complaining too much.
It is so frustrating that you can’t get dinner till later in the evening unless you can get a Pilgrims meal in an Albergue. We tried the restaurant close to our Albergue but were told to come back later. I just want to fall asleep now & it’s 6pm only! My hamstring muscles have stiffened up completely & I walk with a stiff legged gait. Great. Can’t wait till tomorrow …..