TREKKING — DAY 6

Estella to Los Arcos — 14.2 Miles  

First of all I’d like to thank all of you for the comments you have made to this blog.  When I read them it makes me smile and even laugh out loud.  I wish I could answer each of them personally but just want you to know that they are the pat on my back that keeps me walking each day.  

Last night I tossed and turned all night long, unable to sleep.  Even under heavy blankets I couldn’t seem to get warm but the bottoms of my feet were burning hot and aching.  Finally I got up at 6 and found that Dick had been up for hours.  I dreaded walking today and knew I´d be tired with not much energy. Neither of us wanted to eat breakfast.  I think his stomach is getting worse.  Yesterday we went to a pharmacy and got some medication but it hasn´t helped him at all.  Today he´ll try to get something else.  

Dick walked me out onto the street where the Camino started and we said our goodbyes.  It was now 7 a.m. and the sun was just coming up.  The sky was clear blue and it was supposed to be hot today.  I turned on ¨Map My Walk¨ which I love using.  Every mile a voice comes out of my phone loud and clear to tell me how far I´ve gone in miles and it really makes me think I´m making progress.  For the first two miles the road was all uphill.  I was hating it, was immediately breathing hard and wondering when it would end.  By mile 3, I had come to a famous landmark on the Camino.  It was the Fountains of Irache — one spout puts out water and the other puts out wine.  It was one of the highlights of this trip that I was really looking forward to.  You can see this site on the web in real time and see trekkers getting little containers of wine.  But today the wine tap was dry. So I walked on.

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Last night Eliza had told me that today, instead of going up the mountain, down a little bit and then up the mountain again, that there was a way around the mountain instead.  It was located a little past the Wine Fountain of Irache.  I walked about a quarter mile more and the Camino signs pointed to the left.  However, there was a group of people gathered around a sign posted in Spanish.  I couldn’t really understand what the sign said but I heard a guy say in Spanish that if you went to the right the path would be more level.  So I followed that group to the right and it was the best decision I made all day.  

After walking 3 miles I was spent.  So I sat down on a rock and forced myself to eat a little chocolate covered donut that I’d bought the night before.  My stomach didn’t want it and it took about 15 minutes for me to eat all 4 bites.  But I knew it would give me some energy.  At the 5 mile mark I was in a little village where there was a cafe so I sat on their patio and had a cafe con leche.  

While I was sipping the coffee, sitting in the sun looking at the beautiful scenery I overheard the lady at the next table talking about the awful blisters on her feet.  Then I thought about what Dick told me yesterday.  He had taken the bus with a girl from Holland who was ending her Camino after just a short time because she had a huge blister on her heel.  She had put Compeed on it — a substance that Camino books highly recommend for blisters.  I have read, however, that it is the worst thing you can put on a blister.  Anyway, she had used Compeed and her blister had gotten horribly infected with using it.  At the hospital they told her not to wear shoes and that she needed to end her Camino experience.

Were these shoes left behind because they caused blisters??
Were these shoes left behind because they caused blisters??

After walking uphill some more I found myself in another village, standing by a church.  Several trekkers were milling around and one of them ran up to me.  It was Kristina, the young girl from Italy who I had walked with out of Pamplona.  We hugged and were so glad to see each other again.  I asked the Italian fellow she was walking with if he would take our photo and he did, first with her cell phone and then with mine.  Then another trekkers asked him to take her picture, too.  She handed him her camera and as he was ready to take her picture he dropped her camera and it went clunk, clunk, clunk, landing on the hard bricks covering the ground.  I don’t know if her camera was broken or not but I was sure glad my cell phone was still intact.

Kristina and me in front of the church
Kristina and me in front of the church

The next 8 miles were a breeze.  It was just a little uphill and a little downhill but mostly level ground.  This has been the easiest day, terrain wise, so far.

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Dick sent me a text that he had reserved a room in Los Arcos and that he would meet me on the path.

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True to his word, after entering Los Arcos and walking a few blocks here he came, walking toward me.  Instead of wanting to get to the hotel to crash, I actually felt fine so we sat at a little outdoor cafe while I sipped lemonade and he had a beer.

The hotel Dick had selected was brand new and the first thing I asked the receptionist was if there was a hair dryer in the bathroom.  She apologized and said “No.”  But the guy who was helping her said he would get me one.  While we were still in reception he came running back, apologizing in Spanish, saying he had gone to his mother’s house to borrow her hair dryer but she wasn’t home and her door was locked and he didn’t have a key.  Oh, do I love these small villages.  They told me not to worry, that they would borrow one from someone else and bring it to our room.  And true to their word, they did.  This was a truly great day!  

After showering and using the blow dryer I washed my clothes and again hung them on the balcony to dry.  It was late afternoon and we decided to go have a bite to eat.  At an outdoor cafe we ordered a small pizza and Patatas Bravas (crisp fried potatoes smothered in aioli (homemade mayonnaise).  Dick ate one tiny piece of pizza and I ate two bites of potatoes and we were both full.  It is now 11 p.m. and I’m craving those Patatas Bravas.  I think my appetite is returning!

 

 

TREKKING — DAY 5

Puente la Reina to Estella — 15.5 miles

Both Dick and I still have queasy stomachs that we’ve had for a few days now and we simply don’t want to eat. Dick’s stomach is worse than mine because his is cramping quite a bit. Last night for dinner in the hotel all we wanted was a bowl of soup but we were not allowed to have one unless we purchased the full 3 course Pilgrim meal for 15 Euros each. We paid the price and ate a few bites of food from the buffet. The waiter insisted on bringing me the main course which he said was chicken. I pushed it around on my plate and ate two bites of what I thought was thigh meat. It actually tasted wonderful, but the thigh meat, instead of being dark meat was pure white. I later found out it was rabbit! The staff at this hotel, Hotel Jakue, had not been accommodating or friendly and this was the frosting on the cake!

Waking up this morning I lay in bed thinking how much I did not want to walk. My legs were sore and it was still hard to walk when I got out of bed. The plan now was that I would walk the Camino and Dick would take a bus to the next destination and have a hotel room waiting when I got there. That worked well for both of us.

We didn’t eat any breakfast and Dick walked me out of the hotel at 8 a.m. I started walking the Camino which was very well marked. No problems with getting lost today. The sun was already out and the sky was clear blue. It was windy and cool but I knew it would soon be hot with no clouds or shade on the path. The distant views of the mountains and adjacent fields were beautiful but the path was mostly in open areas with not many large trees for shade. I was walking through the hills and the path seemed to consistently go up a hill then down a hill, then up a mountain or two then down and up again. I stopped one time for a 5 minute rest but wasn’t having much fun on the path today so I just wanted to keep walking and get to that hotel room. Dick texted me that he had a room and he would meet me on the path. Relief!

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I had been walking for over 14 miles up and down mountains and hills, still on an empty stomach and just couldn’t figure out how much farther I had to go. Finally, I got another text from Dick saying I was almost to the river. Well what did THAT mean? I was too exhausted to even text back and ask. I passed the river, walked another mile and every corner I went around I expected to see a town or to see Dick. But NO! I was getting really irritated because I was so tired and I just wanted the walking to end. Finally, after I entered the narrow cobblestone streets of Estella and walked quite a ways and still didn’t see him I texted him and asked where he was. He texted back and said to go to “Find My Friends” and look at the dot where he was. Well, that did it!! Like I could even tell where he was from a dot on a map!  I texted him back and said, “I don’t care about any f…ing dot, WHERE ARE YOU? At that point I had walked 15.5 miles with no food and I felt like I couldn’t make it one step more. I sat down on a bench to rest for a few minutes, then started walking farther through the cobblestone streets of that darling town. Finally I saw Dick walking toward me. I took my backpack off and gave it to him to carry and we walked the rest of the way to the hotel. Once there I ripped off my stinky t-shirt, flopped down on the bed and slept for 2 hours.

When I finally awakened I knew I had chores to do. I had to shower, put on semi-clean clothes and then wash all the clothes I had worn that day. Having to do the wash by hand every day was a chore that just zapped my energy. But it had to be done. After a cold shower (yes, COLD) I washed my clothes in the bathroom sink, wrung them out, rolled them in a towel, stomped on the towel to absorb more water then hung them on the balcony to dry. Our room overlooked the cobblestone street and I didn’t even care that my bra and underpants were waving in the wind.

Just to backtrack a moment, at breakfast the day before, in Pamplona, Dick had met David and Eliza, a father and daughter who were doing the Camino together but they each walked separately during the day and sometimes didn’t even stay at the same place at night. David wanted to stay in hotels and Eliza wanted to stay in Albergues where she could meet young people her own age (23). David was an Orthopedic Surgeon and wanted to know all about Dick’s foot problems. Dick thought he and his daughter were just great, very personable and fun to talk to. So anyway, we ran into them in the hotel dining room the night before at Hotel Jakue and it was great chatting with them for a while.

O.K. getting back to the hotel where we were tonight in Estella. After getting all my “chores” done I asked Dick about the WiFi and when he went to the front desk he found out there wasn’t any. This hotel was in the old section of town and when Dick was looking for a room it was one of the last hotels that even had a vacancy. They told him he’d have to go to a restaurant that had WiFi if we wanted to use our computers. It was approaching 6 p.m. so we went out and walked around a couple of darling plazas where people were sitting outside eating. And who should we run into but Eliza. She was having drinks with a couple of other trekker guys. She and her father joined us later and we ended up having dinner with them, sitting outside on the plaza, talking until the sun went down and it was dark and time to call it a day.

Sent from Karen’s iPad