Camino de Santiago Day 6:
Estella to Los Arcos
We had coffee at our hostel before heading out on Day 6.
We had enjoyed doing most of the walking in the morning the day before, but this stage was going to be our shortest one so there was time for coffee.
Our hostel didn’t have air conditioning, so even with the window open, we had both slept a little hot.
The morning air was cool when we stepped outside but not cold. You could tell it was going to be muggy.
We walked through Estella under cloud cover and climbed for while to another connecting town.
About two kilometers down the road we reached a winery (or bodega in Spanish). I knew we were getting close to the famous wine fountain.
The area bodegas collectively contribute to keep this fountain flowing free for pilgrims.
Traditionally you drink the wine from a shell that you display on your backpack.
The shell is the sign of St James and of the entire Way, so a shell on your pack marks you as a pilgrim walking the Camino.
Even though it was a bit early for wine, of course we stopped and shared in the ritual. And we might have taken some wine for later as well.
After we left the wine fountain the trail flattened out for a bit and we got views to the north of the mountains that are between us and the sea.
We met a man who was out for a day walk and he told us some about the area we were walking and we understood bits and pieces of it.
We walked a good little while with him and then he turned off of our path, but not before telling us to be sure to fill up our water in the next town because we would have a long empty stretch afterwards.
I’ve been studying Spanish to get ready for this trip but of course I am rubbish at speaking it. Even still folks have been super patient with me as I try to find words that express a tiny fraction of what I want to say.
After we left the Spanish man, we caught up with a lady from. France and had a similar experience. We walked together for a while, speaking in a mix of English and French. She told us that she was retired now and that her favorite place she’s been is Capetown.
We all stopped in a field together to examine some asparagus that was growing. Most of it had gone to seed so we couldn’t figure out what it was but eventually between us we sorted it out.
These are the kinds of important things you do while walking the Camino.
Soon we reached the next town and we sat down for coffee with some familiar faces. We ordered some breakfast sandwiches and hard boiled eggs.
We’ve debated much about how long to stop for to keep from getting so stiff that it’s hard to get going again. Some days we take several short breaks and other days we take one long break.
Even when the cloud cover, the morning was hot and sweaty, so as the day wore on, we tried to keep moving fairly quickly.
The path snaked out a long way in front of us so we could see the line of pilgrims making their way in the sun.
When you can a long way, sometimes it seems like the horizon is never getting any closer.
But eventually, when your feet are throbbing and you’re fully covered in the dirt kicking off the dusty trail, the entrance of the town comes into view and you can almost feel how close you are to a shower.
We were staying at La Casa de la Abuela (Grandmother’s House) and when we arrived, a man was trying to check in but the gal at the desk couldn’t find his reservation.
I hoped they would get it sorted and he wouldn’t have to go on to the next town because it was really hot now and it would be 5 more kilometers to the next town.
We’re not sure what happened to him but the town square and a pitcher of sangria with our name on it drew us away from the confusion at the albergue.
We sat for over an hour in the square, until we were about to fall asleep sitting up.
I kind of love it when there is one main gathering spot at the end of the day so you can see everyone coming into town.
Everyone is so relieved to have made it. Another day of the Camino and another 20 kilometers has passed.
We dragged ourselves to the room at the top of all the stairs at La Casa de La Abuela for naps.
Later we strolled through the town a little more. We saw the church and found a little shop to buy some fruit for tomorrow’s walk.
We had a communal pilgrim dinner at our hostel. Lentil soup with chorizo, salad and ice cream for dessert.
We sat with our friends from Mexico, our last time to see them. So we wished each other a final Buen Camino.
The sun lit up th church tower as it fell toward the horizon, the same way it had done on the town walls as we had left Estella that morning.
It was time to call it a day.