31 May Estella to Los Acros

Up until now I’ve been making notes for my blog on the back of cafe receipts, toilet paper, the back of my hand and any scraps of paper I could find anywhere.

Dieuwke has taken pity on me solved that problem for me by giving me my very own notebook.
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After a decent night at the Albergue I was up and ready to go at 7 o’clock having done my laundry, hung it out to dry and had breakfast.
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With my now comfortable pack loaded I stepped into the still sleepy streets of Estella and was all but rolled flat by stream of huffing, puffing, wheezing pilgrims who all seemed intent on being faster than each other. I let them all leave me behind and soon hooked up with Kim from Korea.

Kim and I walked together for a fair time. I listened as Kim explained how before taking to the Camino Frances she had been volunteering at a children’s orphanage in Germany. We walked and talked for couple of miles before saying our first goodbye and Buen Camino at the wine fountain Irache. The free wine doesn’t actually flow before 8 in the morning and I didn’t want to hang about, so, a couple of photos would do for the time being.
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I hoisted my canvas friend back on to my shoulders and took to the path again, again going in the now required direction of upwards.

About 15 minutes or so later a decision was needed. The path took two diverse routes, one a lower, longer and flatter route, the other a higher, slightly shorter route which promised a high climb. After discussing the merits of both routes with a Spanish guy who was cycling I elected to take the high road which I suspected would give me both a view of where I came from and where I was headed.

After being accosted by a dog in a friendly way and having walked uphill alongside a motorway for too long, the path peeled away to left and invited me into woodland which instantly assaulted my ears with a cacophony of birdsong. I glanced backwards as I moved into the wood saw a dark brooding sky stalking me.

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Those same clouds would be around for most of the remainder of day, at times looking angry and heavy with rain before turning from lead grey to slate blue and darker. Oft times the sun broke through and would eventually win the day to provide me with this silent walking companion.
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After a short time Ses (the little Kiwi) and Korean Kim caught up with me. After about 3 hours of walking Ses and I stopped for a toe wiggle and shared some cake Ses had procured from somewhere. As we sat together Kirk and his two sons from Utah arrived and joined us in cosy, mutual toe wiggle.

A few minutes later Ses and I moved on and as we walked she told me about the business she and her partner ran in New Zealand. They have 2000 acres of land they rent from the local Moari people to grow maize for home consumption and export.

I drifted away from Ses and admired the countryside I was walking through.

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Walking along the path I started to smell an aroma I was familiar with but couldn’t put a name to. A conversation with some Italians and Spanish reminded me that what I was smelling was the vanilla/lemon/citronella smell of the Paradise Tree.
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I was soon walking through rolling fields of cereal crops set into long frozen giant rolling waves of long time ago slowly forming rock formations.

These photos will describe the next hour or two of walking.
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Too far away for a clear picture,I could see the ruins of an ancient Pilgrim Hospital grimly holding onto it’s last stand in history, it seemed to be silently screaming out thousands upon thousands of untold stories.

I walked on, alone again, hoping to see my two Dutch friends one more time because I anticipated tomorrow seeing initial family groups being temporarily broken up because of the varying distances that people can tackle and, I also know that John is walking to a schedule and Dieuwke is carrying a sore foot, (well, she’s not actually carrying it, it’s still attached to her leg, but I guess you’ll know what I mean).

My next toe wiggle saw me share a bench with Christina from Arizona who is walking alone and is sure her dear departed husband is watching over her.
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As we both chatted I was very pleased to see two familiar and friendly faces approach us, it was John and Dieuwke. They later told me they were just as pleased to see me as I was to see them, that made me wonder if I owed them money 🙂

We three walked the last couple of kilometres together into Los Acros. We were unsuccessful with our request for a bed at the first place we tried but had no trouble finding one elsewhere. After booking in, showering and laundry we went out to see Los Across and came across others we had become friendly with along the way. It’s nice how everyone can meet different people yet not everyone in our small families meets the same people, if you know what I mean.

We shared a table with Evan and Ariana, the father and daughter mix from America.
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Ok, folks it’s taking forever to upload my photos so I guess you can see them later if I’m successful.

The rest of the day went like this………. Dinner, chat with Liz, Chase and Kevin an Aunt and 2 nephews from Pennsylvania – (a trio I would spend more time with tomorrow), laugh, chat, wine, laugh, chat, wine, laugh, chat, wine then off to bed in the dorm with about ten others. I think I was like a little bird asleep with it’s beak tucked under it’s wing by about 10 and would not stir again until 5:30 am tomorrow.

Steps today 32179

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