Camino Diary Entry # 13

31Emails home from the Camino

Estella to Los Arcos 23kms 6.5hours
#13 We walked for 15 minutes before re-connecting with the Camino (and believe me, every minute counts) to make our way out of Estella. Funnily enough it was all uphill. You would think by now that this would not still be a surprise to us.
The highlight several kilometres up the road was La Fuente de Vino. Bless their cotton socks. The monks of the deserted monastery have left a fountain- one tap fills your water bottles and the other is just pure red wine!

La Fuente de Vino

La Fuente de Vino

In anticipation of this we had packed our $2-shop plastic ‘happy mugs’ and regardless of it being 10 am, we tanked them up, smiled for photographs and continued our way up the hill slopping a trickle of red liquid between sips.

Somehow, this was our shortest day so far – just 6 1/2 hours of hiking. It was almost, in an optimistic sort of way, our flattest and easiest walking.

22We were appreciative of some cloud cover and felt buoyed along by the kilometer distance markers. However someone needs to deal with the little man who did the measuring – there was no way the final 3 kms was anything less than 7 kms. We walked and walked. With every bend came a new incline and for a ‘significant town’ in the next couple of kilometres Los Arcos was very well hidden!
We were somewhat cheered from time to time with smaller groups of our ‘singing boys from Pennsylvania’ coming along behind us in full song. They even managed  running at one stage and continued singing! Truly a very special memory hearing those young voices guide us into a town we were thinking didn’t really exist!

Our 'Singing Boys' from St Gregory's Academy, Pennsylvania

Our ‘Singing Boys’ from St Gregory’s Academy, Pennsylvania

Gwyneth has been heard to say on more than one occasion – this would be really good if it weren’t for the walking.
Our hotel was at the furthest end of town as you might guess!Showered and barely able to put one foot in front of the other, we made it down two floors (in the elevator) to the dining room.

Faulty Towers had nothing on this performance! Our Manuel was clearly more concerned with his mobile phone call. With phone still to his ear, he brought the menus, explained in sort of English, took our orders, left the full bottles of red wine and water on our table (unopened) and  returned to his chair to carry on the conversation!We’re still not totally sure we got what we might have ordered but the next three tables got the same amount of attention – and interestingly enough – the same food!

We befriended an older German lady alone at next table. Silly lady left half a bottle of red and one of water – well? What were we meant to do?
We caught up with Dutch friends (new as of today!) and once Texas mom/son combo Barbara and Jordan turned up as well, it was just like a family reunion.
We excused ourselves with the intention of checking out the church (not our fault they all thought we were rushing to Mass). The church is absolutely stunning- all gold and ornamental and really, really beautiful. Sadly once again, we had no idea what they were talking about and made a dive for the exit at an appropriate moment. A little unfortunate that we headed for the totally locked doors, but with much badly controlled hilarity (could have been the wines earlier) we found a way out.
We really had planned to head back to our room, but then we met other Irish friends sitting outside the church in the town square, and they said ‘ have a drink’ and… and… and…. we are now back in our room and working our way top to toe with intensive Tiger Balm first aid!
Tomorrow is huge, 29 kms they tell us. Very early night required, and hoping to improve our start time!

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