September 14th, 2015
My Facebook friend Susan asked if I would share what motivated me to do the Camino a second time.
Wow. That’s the question I’ve been asking myself ever since I decided that I wanted to do it again.
What made me want to walk the Camino the first time was the movie “The Way”. Of course the movie made the journey look much easier than it actually turned out to be, at least for me, so that after I returned from the Camino I swore I’d never again put a backpack on my back.
But then about a year later I started thinking about the Camino again, as if were calling to me. I found myself wondering how it would be to do the Camino a second time, just one more time. I guess I think of walking the Camino was kind of like going through childbirth: afterwards you think, boy, I never want to go through that again, but then two years later there you are, doing it again.
I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t really know why I wanted to walk the Camino again. I just did.
Anyway, yesterday we walked 19 kilometers – about 11 ½ miles – from Ayegui, the suburb of Estella where our albergue was located, to Los Arcos. The walk wasn’t terribly hilly or rocky, but, boy, did it feel long today
But,as always, there were some lovely views.
A short way outside of Estelle we passed the famous Irache Wine Fountain, a spigot in the wall of a winery we from which pilgrims are invites to fill their scallop shells with wine to fortify themselves for the road, which is great if you like drinking wine at 9 in the morning when you have ahead of you a 7-hour walk carrying a 20-pound backpack.
Fortunately there was also a water fountain, of which most of us pilgrims availed ourselves
Along the way we also hit the mother lode of sweet blackberries, of which we pilgrims also availed ourselves.
We stopped for lunch in the town of Villamayor de Monjardin where we had the most delicious and ingenious- tortillas, kind of a tortilla sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, and melted cheese (not sure they melted that cheese) between two “slices” of tortilla. A Spanish tortilla, by the way, is like a crustless potato and egg quiche, though other ingredients are often added. Like tuna.
At lunch we got into a conversation with another pilgrim, a friendly young Australia woman who told us she first began to feel the call to walk the Camino several years ago. I asked her how her journey was going so far. “Well,” she replied, “It’s not always mystical, but it’s always magical.”
I think she nailed it
When we arrived at Los Arcos, a small city with a lovely square bordered by a cathedral on one side and a row of restaurants on the other,
ery albergue we stopped at was completo – full – until we came to the last albergue on the edge of town, the Casa Alberdi, a small albergue that looks like it was once a big lovely home with a court yard and where the albergue entrance and common room is in the converted garage.
The hospitaliera told us that there was nothing left except mattresses on the floor. Perhaps our faces showed our distress, because she then offered us, for 45€, a private room with a “matrimonial” – that means double – bed. We grabbed it. The hospitaliera then led us up some steps to a side entrance into her family’s living quarters. The room she gave us looked like it belonged to a teen-aged girl.
We figured her daughter was probably on the phone with her friends, complaining about how she had to sleep on the couch again tonight so some stupid pilgrims could have her bedroom.
Trying to find some dinner in the town of Los Arcos was an ordeal last time we were here. This time was no better. There were no seats at the indoor or outdoor tables of t any oc the restaurants in the square. We walked around and found a few bars that sold sandwiches, but the bars were all jammed, and we found another nice-looking restaurant in a nice-looking hotel, but the hotel had a completo sign in the window and the server said he couldn’t serve us, the restaurant was completo, too. The whole town was over-run with pilgrims.
So we walked back to the square to see if there were any free tables. There weren’t. We walked into one of the restaurants and the harried server told us there were no seats inside, try outside. Just then an old gent sitting outside the restaurant pointed out one lone 2- seater table in an obscure, rather hidden spot. He told us to go sit there then he called to the server and let her know that we were sitting there. The server eventually came hurrying over to us, apologizing for the wait, took our order, and about half an hour later we had our meals, a delicious seafood paella for me and a delicious sausage and mushroom paella for Tom, served up with more profuse apologies from the waitress. I figure she must run from table to table apologizing to everyone all night long.
Anyway, I asked our server if this was a busy night or if the restaurants were this busy every night. Every night, she replied, and every day, all day, morning to night.
“But it’s good for the boss,” she said with a smile, “and good for me, too.”
Los Arcos at night.
9/14/2015 04:51:19 am
I think it was Los Arcos that Christopher's Camino group decided to cook their own meal rather than fight the restaurant crowds. He must have had a similar experience there, but was lucky to have a place in an Albergue with a kitchen!
9/14/2015 05:26:04 am
You always said that you have one of the lightest backpacks among the pilgrims. From your picture, your backpack looks substantial and heavy.
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