Walked from Estella à Los Arcos, 21.7 k, if you don’t count the extra kilometers walked as a result of missing a turn. Found a great fig tree. The fact that the fruit was so accessible should have been a clue that a thousand pilgrims had not recently walked by. Another clue, no pilgrams visible in any direction. But Karol and I were enjoying just walking until we arrived at a cross roads with no waymark of any sort. That is when we realized we had missed a turn, so back we went. Coming over the top of a hill you could see a straggling line of pilgrims turning left and heading across the valley.
Very beautiful again.
Still rolling hills, but the earth is becoming very red and the tilled earth contrasts with the beige of harvested grass and the green of the vineyards.
Full of fruit by the end of the day – more figs and grapes as the path went through a vineyard, and mirabel plums: I have seen them in recipes. They are very small and sweet and have a hint of apricots. Yum. Early in the day we climbed over another small pass dominated by a cone shaped peak with the ruins of a castle on the very top. Cafe con leche at the town at the pass before descending for a 12k walk mostly through fields but also through a poplar forest and a pine forest where I paused for a little lie down.
Amazing butterflies around some yellow flowers, and something that was either the smallest humming bird ever or a large insect that looks like a humming bird, probably the later as they don’t have humming birds in Europe.
Staying at the Austrian albergue. I like it a lot. Only 4 in a room and the other three are Michelle and later Carmen (from Tenerife, distinct in orange and black . I have passed her many times, and she once unobtrusively stepped forward to help us order in a bar, but we had not actually met before) and Beate who was looking for a private room tonight, but this was what she could find. Carmen has bad blisters on her feet, and I was very moved by the tenderness with which the slightly skittish Michelle tended to them. Changed my whole way of thinking about Michelle. Guylène, Cristel & Daniel stopped by and invited me to the bar en face d’eglise for a beer. When I arrived I bought my beer and went out to also find Karol, Carmen & Quitterie. When we clicked glasses and I said “buen camino” Quitterie said “Ultreia”, which seems to translate as “go further” or “to the end (of the camino)”, and with it’s reponse “Et Suseia” were traditional camino greetings. Seeing it was a new word to me Guylène, Cristel & Daniel enthusiastically began singing a traditional French camino song, in which these words were the chorus. I recorded it. Tonight I went to the evening mass to bless the pilgrims. Amazingly Baroque chucrh. I loved the paintings on the ceiling. Impossible to believe that such a small town could ever have had the money to so richly decorate this building. And then to have maintained it for all these years. Overwhelming. At the end of the service the priest called the pilgrims forward to greet by country and it felt good to see us all together. Mostly French and Spanish but also the Koreans, the 7 Finns and the Pole, the Brazillians and Maarten, the Fleming, and me, the American. Priest friendly and funny. After the blessing we were allowed into the beautiful cloistered rose garden for short stroll. Storks nest on the bell tower. Dinner with Beate, Michelle, Veera & Nando from Brazil. He is a very nice guy who has been with us since Orisson, and I grow more fond of him the more I bump into him. Eduardo joined us for water and dessert and again was translator. Very nice day. 27 Oct 2009