When last I wrote we were enjoying a rest day in Pamplona known for las fiestas de San Fermines or you might know the running of the bulls in early July. It was another hot day and we were happy to explore while staying in the shade.
That evening we made a plan to head out early. We set our alarm for 5 a.m. and by 6 a.m. we were on our way to Puente La Reina. We had an initial problem finding the Camino as our Pensión was off the path. This little error cost is 40 minutes of extra walking during peak walking time for us, darkness! We still managed to make good time and made it to the Alto Del Perdon before 11 a.m. The rest of the day was difficult as temperatures topped over 95 degrees. We took frequent breaks and still got in town by 2 p.m. Unfortunately the lure of pool at the Albuergue de Santiago delayed our arrival to our eventual Albuergue of El Puente until after 3 p.m. The one with the pool was at the end of town in Puente la Reina and up a hill over 100 meters. It was too much after over 24 kilometers. It was in this town where after having attended several Pilgrims Masses throughout this journey that we had our first emotional encounter. The priest held his regular mass and at the end asked Pilgrims on the way to step forward. His words really touched us and were encouraging as we were feeling quite discouraged between heat and blisters.
The next day we again rose early and headed to Estella. It was 21.9 kilometers away and we arrived by 1 p.m. taking frequent brakes.
On Sunday, August 28th we headed out to Los Arcos. It was only 21.2 kilometers away, but we figured we would stay on schedule and head out early. On our way we passed the famous wine fountain of Irache and we even stopped at a cafe for a mid-morning snack and purchase a bocadillo. Somehow, we missed the last water fountain and for over 13 kilometers had no water refills and I was out. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Los Arcos! If it wasn’t for Mari giving me one of her bottles, I may have been dinner for the vultures. The fake ‘bar stand’ didn’t help and none of us found it amusing.
It was in Los Arcos that we met up with a friend made in Orrison, Peggy. A spunky lady from Washington the state not the political one. That said, Peggy sports a’Clinton’ button and has no problem telling you why. It was an instant friendship with this woman that is older than my mom, but from what little she has shared has lived an amazing, adventure-filled life.
We also saw Kevin again. He also started in Orisson with us. He runs a successful family business allowing him to travel all over the world. He plans to make it to Santiago and is meeting his wife and friends somewhere near Sarria.
We also met LeeLee from Taiwan. I don’t know much about her since there is a language barrier, but she is a trip. She knows what she wants and how to get it. Very little patience, but generally good humored.
Lastly, we met Don. He was a former Delta pilot out exploring the world. He has started on Tuesday and we had started Sunday.
All of these characters got together for a great dinner in Los Arcos. The next day some of us met again in Viana.
Since in Viana was so close to Logroño, we decided to break what could resemble a rhythm. We did less than 13 k that Tuesday and decided to live it up there.
Are we getting used to the intense physical effort? Not yet, but we are enjoying the towns and company.