Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day Ten - the last leg to Viana

Day 10 – May 25th – Los Arcos to Viana
20km – 21km adjusted for climb

Another beautiful day beckoned as we left Hotel Monaco in Los Arcos and walked due West with the morning sun directly behind us. We left at 8.00 on the button, hoping to arrive at Viana before 1.00 pm and before the sun rose too high in the sky. Our lift from Viana to Bilbao was scheduled for 3.30pm so we should have time for lunch. Barry disappeared in a puff of turbo dust, Fraser and I came next and bringing up the rear were Pat and Dan. By some miracle I managed to keep ahead for the whole of the walk and arrived into Viana in good time.

We did not stop to smell the roses in Torres del Rio, which was a pity in retrospect. Such was our commitment to arriving in good time that we just floored the accelerator and made straight for our destination.

Once again it was classic camino landscape – fields of wheat and vines – gentle hills and valleys. I decided to take a small break to eat my orange – my only concession that morning to comfort – and came across a man well into his seventies from Tuscany. He was wearing a rugby shirt – but it turned out he had no knowledge of the game. I stayed with him for a mile or so until he decided to take a rest and he bade me to proceed. I feared I would never see him again such was his fatigue, but sure enough he appeared like the risen lord and perhaps equally battered about an hour after we arrived.

We also walked for a while with a young Spanish lad whose feet were clearly giving him huge problems. We had seen him in previous days and marveled at his tenacity and worried about his health.

We were totally comfortable with our decision to have our rucksacks brought on ahead but marveled at people often twenty years our senior taking their bags and walking greater distances. It is my hope and intention that the camino does not end physically spiritually or artistically with our arrival in Viana but lives on.

A few miles outside Viana I heard the familiar Spanish tones and looked round to find it was my small English class. Together we walked into Viana.

As a whole, Viana is perhaps the prettiest of all the towns we visited and yet has the camino feel to it. I managed to visit the wonderful church – the Iglesia de Santa Maria before it closed for Siesta – a serious siesta that does not finish until 7.00 pm in the evening.

We sat at tables opposite the church and greeted the pilgrims s they arrived. By this stage the rock shandies had become de rigueur and I bought 6 for the thirsty masses. We repaired to the very posh Palacio de Pujadas Hotel for lunch. They had kindly taken in our luggage for free and the concierge declined a tip I was happy to offer. We had just finished lunch when about two hundred middle aged Spanish ladies invaded the dining room. To give credit to the staff all the ladies were wined and fed in jig time.

Our taxi man Manuel arrived at 3.00 and we felt a little unworthy as we clambered into the luxury of a people carrier that swept us along the excellent motorway to Bilbao in just over an hour.

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