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.
I feel mildly panicked imagining walking all day with no idea when the next pit stop may be! What a lovely little, simple oasis. Beautiful pictures too.
Amy recently posted…Magical Mystic and Historic Yale
Thanks, Amy. Most days on the Camino we had a pretty good idea of where our pits stop would be, but sometimes we just never knew. All part of the adventure.
I love the yellow fields of rapeseed, we have them here in the UK and I see many on my way to work during the spring. As a Dietitian I always recommend the rapeseed oil for cooking since it is rich in omega 3 and monounsaturated fats. That bar sounds like a little gem of a place, how lovely it must have felt to find it and enjoy food and a cold drink there. I would love to walk the Camino one day in the near future.
Gilda Baxter recently posted…Zakynthos, Greece – A Role Reversal, the Daughter Becomes the Mother
The deepest color of yellow we’d ever seen and the fields of yellow followed us for miles and miles. It was stunning. I hope you do get to walk the Camino, Gilda.
Beautiful photos! I came across your post while just daydreaming about one day walking the Camino de Santiago. Defnitely gave me some more inspiration!
Jenny @ Till the Money Runs Out recently posted…5 Fun Solvang CA Things To Do – California Road Trip Stop
Thank you, Jenny, for finding us. I hope you do walk the Camino one day, it is an incredible experience on so many levels.
Truly some entrepreneurial ingenuity at work. See an opportunity and seize it. Love it, and love the photo of the rape seed too.
Oh yes, absolutely brilliant and the bar”tender” was super friendly. I’m sure he’s doing really well, I know he was a big hit with us!
How great that the Camino becomes each pilgrim’s Camino! It’s in the background there, waiting to happen for us…your depiction of color along the way, and of course, the bar that happens when it’s most needed, are inspiration to keep the Camino on the bucket list. Thanks for the FAQ!
Anita recently posted…Lunigiana: Tuscany’s hidden corner
You’re welcome. I hope you find our FAQ guide helpful and yes, definitely keep the Camino on your bucket list!
It was so ingenious of the guy. Pull your trailer out to the middle of nowhere and feed the hungry pilgrims! I hope you find our FAQ guide helpful.
I love that little bar – how ingenious- it would definitely be a perfect spot for me! Leigh’s comment about bed bugs is so surprising but I’m relieved to hear you found and can recommend alternatives. The Camino de Santiago has long been on my bucket list ( I have walked just a small portion on a food tour) so will download your guide. Thanks!
Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel) recently posted…3 reasons to love a Day Pass to Sonesta Maho Beach Resort
That is a true oasis and something I found once on the West Coast Trail hike. My daughter is recently back from her 4th camino but this time she was plagued with bed bugs so it wasn’t a lot of fun. Great photos.
Leigh recently posted…10 Photos that Will Make you Want to Visit the Mendocino Area
Ugh… bed bugs, another reason why we chose not to stay in the hostels. I can’t imagine walking the Camino 4 times, but at the same time I understand. It does take hold.
I trust that wasn’t 2K out of your way! haha, I think I remember that very spot from our Camino in September 2011.
Kristin Henning recently posted…Hike Breckenridge Trails
No, not out of the way, fortunately and I’m betting it is the same exact spot you came upon while walking. The guy was super friendly and what a smart place to park his grill/trailer. You can carry water with you but there are times you really (really) want something cold to drink. I’m pretty sure I downed a Gatorade in one breath!
Are there ever pack animals?
Actually, yes. Twice we saw a pilgrim with a pack mule. I suspect though that pilgrims with pack mules walk longer than the average pilgrim, needing more stuff.
That bar truly looks like an oasis. I can imagine what a welcome site it was on your Camino de Santiago walk. My sister did that walk last year and it was interesting to hear her perspectives on each day’s journey. It’s quite an experience.
Donna Janke recently posted…Travelling With The Good Beer Guide
It is indeed, Donna, an extraordinary experience. We walked 350 miles and we have such fabulous memories.
Oh!! Now that is what I call a real oasis!
Just sitting here reading your description you had me getting thirstier and thirstier waiting to see what – if anything was over the brow of that next hill!
Love hearing these little tales from along the way 🙂
Linda ~ Journey Jottings recently posted…What to do in Whistler if you Don’t Ski
Thank you, Linda. I remember being tired that day, trying to find our stride in the first week of walking. That little spot was such a gift!
What a delightful little spot to stop along the Camino de Santiago! I’m ready for that place right about now myself.
It was the best! If you’re in need of a little oasis, I hope you find it.
Just when you needed it most! The Camino de Santiago is something I’d like to do someday, when I have lots of time so I can do it slowly! It seems to me it would be hard to relax and enjoy when you’re feeling like you HAVE to make a certain distance each day. But I’ll download your guide to read more about how it works. Thank you!
Rachel Heller recently posted…Physical Therapy, Korean-style!
There is a saying, “The Camino will provide” and it’s true. Just when we really wanted to see that bar, there it was. We were on the Camino for 35 days, which is about average. There are those who walk faster and those who take more time. It’s your Camino!
Did you think you were seeing a mirage?
Paula McInerney recently posted…When Size Matters – Park Regis Piermonde, Cairns
I was hoping, for sure! I was so tired and hungry and I don’t remember why, but that was a day we didn’t pack food with us.
I have a friend planning to walk the Camino next year. I will pass this along to her. D and I want to cycle it one day but so far we haven’t got beyond the vague planning stage.
Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
We did see quite a few cyclists on the Camino, but there are places where they follow (and ride) on the paved road. I thought walking was challenging enough, not sure I could take on a bicycle. Thank you for passing on our FAQ to your friend.
That really is a wonderful little oasis! It would have seemed heavenly to me, too, I’m sure!
Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru recently posted…Into Serbia
It was ideal in every way, spot on!