I am writing the first sentences of this post in Estella in the auberge. Again an auberge without a wifi connection, so it will become another multi-day post. We started off this morning in Utrega where at first the auberge seemed to be full. They only had hotel rooms left for 25 euro per person. A room with a bed with clean sheets and a private bathroom after 4 nights sharing rooms with many many others was a no brainer end as such turned into a very good night sleep.
At 8am we started walking, for the first time this week with a little rain. The earlier days have been beautiful weather. The months before the region had experienced severe rainfall and snow in some areas. The damage from that weather showed still along the way. Some muddy roads, some roads washed away by the rain and trees fallen due to heave snow loads. In the end it did not cause us much trouble and in all cases there was a way around the obstructions the weather created.
The country side started to change today, slowly moving from the mountain country side of the Pyrenees into a hilly country side with farm land and the first wineries showing that we are slowly heading towards the Rioja county.
During our lunch I ran into a fellow Dutchman that I met before during a meeting of the association of Dutch pilgrims back in september ’12. At that time he was not sure if his bad knees would allow him to walk the Camino and today he was suddenly sitting there in a small restaurant where we both happened to have our lunch. He was in his second day from Pamplona, progressing slowly with careful steps towards Santiago de Compostela. A strange unexpected but joyful encounter.
The sense of time is starting to fade away, while writing this second part I have to realize myself that it is saturday and that I am not even a week away from home. It is only the fifth day of walking of the 30 I had available. In a conversation we just realized that we covered 140 km already but then the remaining 650 still seem a lot. If everything continues as the past five days the whole Camino will be a magnificent experience.
Today was a short day, with only 20 km to cover we arrived in the Auberge in Los Arcos around midday. More or less giving ourself a half day off. The landscape started to change even more into a landscape of rolling hills. The last stretch to Los Arcos was one with no stops or towns for the last 9 km. With a few “pelegrinos” we decided to prepare our own meal. So no pilgrims menu in a restaurant today, but something special, yet to determined.
The local restaurants along the Camino often offer a special pilgrim menu. Pasta or salad as a starter, meat as a main course concluded by a choice of desserts. All companied by a glass of wine and offered for the pilgrim friendly price in the range of 9 to 12 euro. Good in general, but today we will go for a different menu; our own.