The public albergue in Estella was nice - large and clean rooms, big common area, hot showers, heat, blankets, etc. - but it was still public. Meaning, we had another snorer and there was a person who insisted on rattling all his bags for an hour before finally retiring for the evening around 11pm. Don't get me wrong - I love my fellow man -- but my fellow man can be annoying when I'm trying to sleep and he doesn't make any attempt to be quiet. When the girls and I left this morning, I was rested enough for our journey but I was hoping we'd find something tonight that was quiet and private. I sit here very happy because we did indeed find a lovely (quiet!) place in Los Arcos. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Our walk from Estella to Los Arcos was gorgeous. The day was cool and overcast -- perfect for walking -- and the Way wound through green pastures and vineyards. We walked by castle ruins and we traveled through ancient towns. We also stopped by the famous wine fountain.(!) In addition to the scenery, we met and spoke with many amiable fellow pilgrims - Franco from Germany (we first met him in Pamplona), Sue and her husband from Australia, Riley from Slovenia, and a dozen others whose names escape me at the moment.
Sage hiked in her tennis shoes for the first time today. Since we're no longer hiking through snow or slush, there's no reason for her to wear her hardcore winter hiking boots (Sorels). She loved hiking in her lightweight footwear - indeed, she and Alex flew up the paths today and I had difficult keeping up. Sage's leg pain appears to be gone and both girls' feet continue to stay strong and blister-free.
We left Estella and approached the famous wine fountain at the Monasterio Irache.
Mmmmm. Thank you, kind monastery!
We passed through Azqueta, climbed up a short hill to the town of Villamayor de Monjardin, and continued toward Los Arcos.
There's a public albergue in Los Arcos, and I'm sure it's lovely, but we needed some privacy this evening to ensure a good night's sleep. Luckily, Casa de la Abuela, a privately-run albergue, is open this time of year. We now have a private room for just a few Euros more than it would have cost the three of us to stay in a public albergue. They did laundry for us for just a few Euros (wash and dry) and they'll serve breakfast in the morning. We also have a semi-private bathroom, and so far there is no one staying in the adjoining room. Heaven!
There's even a place next door for haircuts! (Alex thought I was silly to take her picture while her hair was being washed).
We feel very refreshed and we haven't even gone to sleep yet.
Tomorrow we will walk 18 miles, meet Hugh in Logrono, take a day off, then continue walking the Camino on the 23rd.
Misc. comments - the girls have overheard many male peregrinos talk about a certain woman walking solo on the Camino. Her name is Katerina. I have not met her, but apparently she is very attractive because we have overheard no less than five conversations about her physique from men of all nationalities over the past three days. Alex and Sage think these men are ridiculous for acting so silly and obsessing so relentlessly over one poor peregrina who is probably spending her entire Camino keeping these panting males away with her hiking stick.
My toenail is definitely going to fall off. It turns a darker shade of purple every day...the girls are placing bets on which day it will finally leave me.
We have settled into a routine - wake at 7am, get our things together, grab croissants and juice at a local bar, start walking at 8 or 8:30, walk our 13 miles or so (buying lunch/snacks along the way), get into an albergue by 1:30 or 2:00, shower, wash clothes, get our three course pilgrim's menu at a local bar, hang out (I blog while the girls write in their journals), play cards, go to sleep by 8pm.
TODAY'S THANKS GOES TO: Sarah Stewart and the congregation of Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Plymouth, NH. Sarah blessed us during service before we left and the congregation has been so kind and supportive of our journey. Thank you, Sarah and SKUUF!
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