We walked away from Estella on the morning of day seven, after spending a 2nd night in an attempt to allow our bodies to get used to the idea of walking… walking… walking. It was the first of only two times we would spend a second night in one place while walking the Camino de Santiago.
It was an estimated distance of twelve miles from Estella to our next planned destination, Los Arcos. The day dawned a bit chilly and a slight breeze nudged us onward.
A Natural Consequence
When you’re walking the Camino, especially in the first week or two, it pretty much takes everything you have to make it through each day. Your body is screaming, “What the hell are we doing here?” and pretty much every inch of your body aches. It’s a natural consequence of the daily action of walking. I mean, who walks an average of twelve miles each day?
A New Adventure
Every day on the Camino is a new adventure. You never know what to expect. Well, you can expect to walk a lot of miles, but otherwise, it’s a crap shoot. The walk between Estella and Los Arcos was especially pretty and we found ourselves trying to define the depth of green and yellow.
Gauntlet of Questions
On any given day on the Camino, your mind runs the gauntlet of questions. Will it rain? Will it be hot? How far between villages will it be? Certain days feel longer than others, some stretches are a bit more remote. And you find yourself looking for, and being amused by, the creativity of local signage.
On day seven, walking from Estella to Los Arcos, we started to feel the long stretch of the trail. We were still very much newbies, we hadn’t yet found our stride. We were hungry and in need of taking a break. But where? The trail seemed to stretch on far beyond the horizon with no village in site. And then, we came upon another sign.
Belly Up to the Bar
A bar, along the Camino, is most often not a belly up to the bar kind of bar, it’s usually a cafe. A place to order food and drink and most often the proprietor doesn’t care if you take off your shoes to massage your aching feet. It’s the name of the game when walking the Camino.
We had almost walked the 2 km but saw no village, no evidence of a bar anywhere and we were sinking into the pit of discouragement. Then, out of nowhere, as we walked up and over a small rise there it was. The bar. An oasis where every passing pilgrim was basking in the glory of this little piece of paradise.
Talk about local ingenuity! Absolutely brilliant. The chef, cook and bottle washer made the best grilled cheese sandwich on his little grill and the drinks were cold, refreshing and oh so welcome. Pilgrims snoozed in the grass under the shade of the little trees, others massaged their road-weary feet, while others just soaked it all in. Isn’t that the very definition of an oasis?
It’s what we loved about being a pilgrim. Every day on the Camino is a new adventure. You never know what to expect.
- We walked the Camino de Santiago in April/May of 2015. Upon our return home we published a free 15-page Camino FAQ, which you can download from our site.