Day 9, September 21, 2017
Los Arcos to Viana Spain
Today I rose this morning at 6:00am and was out of the Albergue at 6:30. After a stop at the town square for a bit of breakfast I headed down the trail. Today I would be climbing over a smaller, but significant mountain ridge.
The temperature continued to climb and as it turned out by 9am I had worked up a pretty good sweat.
I had planned this to be shorter day. Just under 20 kilometres,12 miles. After 3 hours of uphill trekking I stopped for a snack at the highest point and then proceeded to decent into the valley. The hills had changed this potentially shorter day into another full day. I finally dragged myselves into in a sleepy little town called Viana. The “old town” is centered around a ruin and a citadel. My albergue for tonight is the cathedral bell tower. It is listed to have 18 beds but the beds are actually mats on the floor. By 5pm, the place was full. Our little group consisted of a Russian, Hungarian, Italian, French, Polish, Canadians, Spaniards and I was the only American. I attended the 8pm pilgrim mass followed with a communial supper at 8:45 in the tower. After supper, the priest took us pilgrims into the dark Cathedral mezzidine, choir area, and sang to us some old latin songs. It was great!
Day 10, September 22, 2017
Viana to Navarrete, Spain
Here’s the routine….
Pack your bag the night before. Have everything ready so you can collect everything up with a minimum of effort, and noise. When you wake up at 6:30am roll up your sleeping stuff, stuff it into your pack and move out of the sleeping areas as quietly as possible. Brush your teeth, close up your pack, throw it over your shoulder, and head out the door. Look for yellow arrows and shells. Keep walking and find the signs confirming you are on the right path. Sometimes the indications are far apart, and sometimes they are absurdly close together. At times it looks like someone has painted a yellow arrow on a rock with a frayed stick.
To date I have repeated this morning ritual only 10 times and I will be repeating this process until October 29th. It’s so hard to imagine we are roughly 20% into the trip.
Today started the same way each previous day began, but today’s forecast is cloudy and hot.
I started out a little earlier than usual. Not too many people stayed in Viana last night, so the number of Pilgrims walking the Camino path this morning appears to be few. Many of our Camino pilgrims stayed in Lagrono last night instead.
Daylight was almost upon us as we walked out of this town and the clouds on the horizon appeared to be perched on the mountains tops.
Despite the cooler temperatures and the cloudy skys, our progress was slow. I stopped around 10 to eat some breakfast, ¨cafe americano, dos huevos, pan¨ coffee, two eggs and bread. I pressed on heavily afterwards.
Four Spanish Pilgrims were walking with me. Sometimes they would be in front, and a little later I would be in the lead. On one ocassion they were standing under a tree and called me over. This was an almond tree and they had been crushing the shell with a couple of rocks to get to the almond nut. I made myselves right at home gathering, crushing and eating the nuts. In fact the process to get an almond from the shell requires a lot of effort. It is defintely worth buying almonds from the store.
The distance wasn’t difficult today. Thirteen miles.
When I arrived in Navarrete I booked into a private Albergue recommended by two other Pilgrims. I arranged have the laundry done by the owner of the Albergue. It was good to get a good washing from a machine.
Eating, or doing anything for that matter, at this time of day is a bit of a problem in Spain. Between the hours of roughly 2 to 5 PM siesta is the order the day. Shops and restaurants close while people take some time to kickback and relax.
This is an issue when you are looking for a restaurant during the mid afternoon. I managed to find a nice looking place and gorged myselves on pasta, pizza and a salad. I am now full and moving slowly.