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