8:25pm – Torres del Río
31km from Estella – our biggest distance day yet, over nineteen miles, most of which was over brilliantlyt flat dirt roads to Los Arcos. We lost leaving Estella, some twenty minutes wandering about, but we eventually found the processional of pilgrims out of town.
True to form, the first few towns involve good medium gradient hills that tests our morning legs, still weary from the trip to Estella. As it is Sunday/Domingo, nothing is open, except a cafe in Villamayor de Monjardín, which all the pilgrims raided for sandwiches and fruit juice before the 14.5km walk to Los Arcos. The walk there was only difficult in distance, but there were no hills or tough terrain to negotiate.
The final push to Torres del Río was more of the same, but too including some time along the high. It was on this last leg that we are quickly passed by a female, absolutely flying by us on the roadside. We later find her in town, along with a French gentleman, all of us looking for an open albergue. We four finally find Casa Mari, a hostel run by a half-crazy women, dead-set on pronouncing my home nation “ew sa” (USA). The French gentleman is Andrew from Britanny, and the Czech gal is Hedvika, who apparently didn’t leave Estella until 10am, as she attended Mass. Mateo and I gather she must not have stopped once until Torres. And I feel guilty for not attending Mass this morning.
Before enterting Los Arcos, a woman out for her afternoon stroll declares to us “¿qué día bonita para pasar en el camino?” / “Isn’t it a nice day to be on (the) camino?” — And it was. rather cool in the morning for most of the travel.
Also on the long traverse from Villamayor to Los Arcos, we encountered a gentleman I’m calling el lobo solo. This gut is built for camino, or the Appalachian Trail, or any other long distance trip you throw at him. He travels alone, deep-dark tan, killer boot, grey round-brimmed hat. He took only the shortest break in Los Arcos before heading on to Tores, and not even stopping there. While Mateo and I were enjoying our sandwiches with our boots off aside a stream, he swings past us and simply utters “buen provecho” “enjoy. It seemed pretty badass at the time.
Dinner for Mateo’s birthday
Germans – Ronnie and Bruin
Canadiens – Rachel and Christian
Ronnie is an Arsenal fan and doesn’t care for the Bundesliga. We discuss Wenger, Henry, Bergkamp, and Fàbregas; Bruin is a talkative advertising agent from East Berlin, who’s done camino, but whose knees are bad and had to rest two days in Pamplona, then took a bus to Los Arcos.
A strange, scary situation: a gentleman from Guardia Civil asks Mateo (because he speaks Spanish) a series of questions about we had seen a person in a white truck along the camino. Something about a French girl getting harassed/assaulted right before Los Arcos. We’d like not to think that this is the business of the camino, but I imagine parts can be more perilous than you’d like.
But tonight I got to talk to Laura on Matt’s Skype account, which I know was big for me, since the last time we spoke was Tuesday from a pay-phone in the Dublin airport. She’s in High Point with her parents.
Antón Hurtado, “Torres del Río” (2003) (artist’s website)
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