Distance so far 114.5 km.
The church bell’s gentle tolling tells me it’s 6 am. I’m felling better so up for a shower at 7 and pack. No breakfast yet so I’m on the road a little after 8.
The pilgrim bridge is closed for repairs so I stop to take a photo and re-pack as it’s not sitting well on my back.
The bridge at Puenta La Reina
All sorted and I’m off and soon on a track past farms.
After a bit I get to a very steep hill and it goes on for a long time. I stop for a rest then keep going and the top appears so I walk it off and a big stone shows up so its time for a rest and some water. A few go buy so it’s time to go.
After a quick climb I make it into Circauqui and stop for a breakfast of orange juice and tortilla. Chat to some Aussie ladies then hit the road again. At a corner store I venture an apple juice, some drinking yogurt and chocolate and have the yogurt there and then. It gives me a strange sensation most of the day but it stays down and I’m sure my bones need the calcium.
It’s a tough descent so when we cross the highway I choose it instead of the Camino all the way to Lorca. It’s a long slog but a much more even surface and when I stop in the square, Dave from Tuscon and his Argentinian show up but don’t stay. There are a bunch of young poms seemingly on effortless holiday.
I trudge on but pass some Korean girls and say hi.
Some gentle country roads and tracks and a tunnel lead me to Villatuerta and another rest. I could stay here but Estella is my target and so I go on. I catch up with the Koreans one of whom is in a bit of trouble with her knee. I offer half a paracetomol which is accepted and off I go again. Nearing Estella a couple of German pilgrims go by on horses.
The Koreans overtake me and I need to sit and rest for 5.
My target is the Oncineda and so another long shuffle is required at the end of the day. I eventually catch up with a young group that has previously passed me and walk into the Albergue and who should be at the counter but the Koreans. I book in and go looking for my room. I’m in with the Koreans and a European couple that passed me a few times today.
The Koreans, Jo and Bee invite me to dinner which involves a long walk through the streets of Estella but I feel refreshed after the shower.
We shop and I pick up some orange juice, and a peach for tomorrow.
At dinner I order Paella with chicken and seafood. It’s too much but no problem because Jo and Bee dive right in. I think I know what they will order next time.
Jo and Bee outside the Cathedral
On return, we sit in the foyer wi-fi-ing and I hear a “Mr Jones”. It’s Chris and Lisa Wicker so we stop for a long chat and I think how remarkable that the Camino brings us together in such an unremarkable way. They are also finding it tough which lifts my spirits by comparison.
It’s nearly time to go up. I just have laundry to do and then bed. Ah glorious bed! Oscar and Ciello our Spanish roommates have just walked in.