Despite sleeping in a ‘donativo’ albergue last night with 13 others in the room, I had the best night’s sleep on the camino so far. We were off at 7am and it was very chilly. We crossed the river and followed the the scallop shells out of town and found a cafe for breakfast before continuing on our way.
It was a bright day, with a few clouds and soon after we left the town we had to make a choice about which route to take. We opted for a slightly longer route that took us through Iráche, where there is a monastery that provides a fountain to serve pilgrims. There are two taps, one for water and one for red wine.
There is a pretty square just beyond the monastery with some trees that are used a lot in this area. I think they are lime trees that have been pollarded and trained to join together, presumably to form a parasol of shade. They are very effective, although they have bare branches at this time of year.
We continue through open farm land with stunning views for a few km’s and then enter a cork oak forest that turns to pine trees before the path opens up again into vast cultivated fields. The sky is blue and it is sunny, although there is still a chill wind that makes walking comfortable.
We come to the pretty village of Luquin where we expect to find a shop to buy a picnic lunch, but there is no such shop and luckily we hear the horn of a bread van and buy a baguette to eat on our way. We stopped at 11:30 am to enjoy our bread with a few scraps we had left over from the day before, a very simple but enjoyable meal.
We reckoned that there was another 9km to cover before reaching our target of Los Arcos. It was a fabulous section of the camino, easy to walk on gravel track and the surrounding countryside was mesmerising, green in every direction, with tall crops rippling in the breeze. Ella and I powered on for quite a few km’s, leaving the guys behind, until I suddenly started to wane and slowed down. Ella plugged in her earphones and disappeared into the distance. I thought I could do with a bit of that so fished out my earphones and finally worked out how to access the music on my iPhone, which sadly took me quite a while. But once I was plugged into Shania Twain it suddenly seemed as if my boots had been powered by rocket fuel and I accelerated with a surge and ate up the track (thanks Shania). I finally caught up with Ella at the entrance to Los Arcos at almost 1pm and we waited for the guys to join us.
We found a nice albergue with 40 odd beds divided between various rooms, and washing and drying facilities. After showering we sorted out our washing and sat in the sunshine enjoying the rest. I opted to retrieve my washing before it went into the dryer because all my t-shirts and underwear are merino wool and I haven’t lost enough weight yet to fit into shrunken garments. However I mistakenly pulled out a pair of Ella’s leggings instead of one of my t-shirts and was then worried about the outcome. Thankfully my tumble dried t-shirt came out the same size as the sun dried one, so now I know I can tumble if necessary.
I used the down time to catch up on my blogging and then we went in search of a restaurant for dinner. The food they serve for the pilgrim’s menu tends to be sub standard in my opinion – plenty of it, but not very good. I shall not choose this menu any more.
I have just heard that the Napoleon’s pass up over the Pyrenees has been closed again, this time due to strong winds. We were so lucky to be able to pass that way, it was perfect timing.
There has also been news that the village we stayed on night 3, Uterga, has been hit by an earthquake. Good timing again. Perhaps disasters are following in our wake.
It had turned very cold during the evening and on returning from dinner we huddled around a wood burner in the common room until lights out at 10:30pm.