Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Monday, May 30, 2011

From Puente to Estella - whoof!

DAY EIGHT – May 23rd – Puente La Reina to Estella –hot and sticky
22km (23.5km adjusted for climb) – they must be joking…

A pure blue sky greeted us as we left Puente La Reina – it was a warning – or at least it should have been – that a hot day lay ahead. We reluctantly left Puente La Reina under the arched gate and over the Queen’s Bridge. We then immersed ourselves in the fields of wheat and made our way along a path that brushed with vineyards. The wheat crept right up to the edge of the path. Not a centimeter of arable land was lost. The farmers in the field found the time to wish us a ‘Buen Camino’.

Looking back at Puente la Reina across the river Arga

Within two hours we had reached Cirauqui. We will never know what the seal looks like because it had run out of ink. Bizarrely there the camino seems to go in one side of a building and out the other. Just as well we were not travelling by car. Lorca was a further 6km down the road. We continued our walk through the fields of wheat as the sun rose higher in the sky. Lorca boasted two fine bars. As the bar on the left was full it was there we gravitated.

We had met Alberto and Joaquin on the way. They had trained as pilots together and this was the third time they were doing part of the Camino together. Such was Alberto’s knowledge of technology than within minutes we were Facebook friends.

I shared with them the Irish saying – giorraionn beirt bothar – the thought that two travelers walking and talking together will shorten the road. I am told this gem of wisdom is now somewhere on Facebook. Padraic Colum would have be thrilled – from Connemara to Navarra...

I must have worn down our Spanish friends because they decided to spend the rest of the day in Lorca and to start early the following morning. Considering the heat, it was probably a good idea.

Later we came across a fellow pilgrim – Carol – from California – who had lived in Spain. She was nursing a sore leg and a sore back but insisted on soldiering on.

The sun got hotter and hotter. It came as no surprise that as we entered the significant town of Estella (pop 13,000) the local young ladies were busy sun bathing and applying sun lotion by the bucket. Sadly Pat and I could not dally as we were committed to getting Carol into town before midnight.

Unfortunately our hotel was at the far end of town in a commercial area beside the Bull Ring. Dan, Barry and Fraser were about to call in the fire brigade to look for us when Pat and myself sauntered into the hotel at 6.45pm having left Carol at the tourist office. She thought she might take a day's rest in Estella with all it's facilities and indeed we didn’t see her again but wish her Buen Camino..

That evening Barry excelled in finding a wonderful restaurant – only to learn we had eaten in it five years previously. Management had changed and quality had improved.

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