An intense but fun day. It started off with me chasing a Scottish couple 4 km into Estella with their t-shirt that they’d left behind. Turns out, it isn’t their t-shirt. Oops! I was trying to do the right thing and everyone agreed that it was their t-shirt. So, I left t-shirt on pavement ad sign since all peregrinos have to pass that way. Hopefully, owner and t-shirt are reunited.
Hauling my extra heavy pack on my back, I continued on my way. I’d gone shopping at the supermercado. I love naval oranjes and had bought 2. But even 2 oranges are super heavy. So I aimed to eat those first.
My back’s been giving me a bit of a problem and today felt worse. I was worried that my pack was getting too heavy and it is affecting my back and legs. At one point I became super worried as o felt my left butt go completely numb. Shit! Have I done something to re-injure the slipped disc I had 10 years ago? Turns out that my water bottle was leaking and the cold air and water was making my skin numb. Phew! Though I have been really conscious of the weight of my pack for the rest of the day.
I’m glad I didn’t stay in Estella. It’s a grim looking town. People were out in the morning doing their thing – going to school, going to work, etc. But it’s not long before everyone disappears into their house and no one can be found. Have I mentioned that every town that I’ve walked into during the day is like a ghost town.
I met 2 new peregrinos today at the Irache Wine Fountain. Kong Oon and Pepe. Pepe had hurt his knee and was walking slow, and Kong Oon was keeping him company, but I don’t know…. Think there might be something a brewing. I was looking for a bit of conversation so I joined them in a coffee stop at Azkeetako later that day. Without pepe’s bung leg, I would not have met Pablito. Pablito is stick man or more correctly, staff man. Pablito invited us to his house to stamp out credencial. What? Do everyone have stamps to stamp passport? Turns out Pablito makes staffs to give to pilgrims. He is a local town character that gets mentioned in the Siuth Korean guidebook, but not others. Pablito also shows us the 800 year old way marking going back to the days of the Knights Templar. Then Pablito gives us nuts. Magic nuts.
In Villamayor de monjardin, I stop to write some postcards and visit the local church, there there’s another old man manning the counter. He tells me about the 1000 year old silver cross, which is very beautiful.
These 2 men were so happy to stamp pilgrims’ credencial. It’s so sad not more pilgrims stop by.
The walk to Los Arcos is intense. Hot and intense. Long and intense. It was very pleasantly broken up when we were joined by Kim and Patrick who had caught up with me. In the short time that it takes to organise Pepe and kong Oon, we burst out in song singing “Happy Birthday” as it was Kim’s birthday. After this, I decided to walk with Patrick and Kim as I was beginning to feel like a third wheel. We set a cracking pace to Los Arcos to try to get a bed for the night at Casa de l’abuelo, or Grandmother’s House. I hadn’t booked in advance. Given the lateness of my arrival, I’m so glad to have gotten a bed at the albergue I wanted. God is looking after me.