Started out fairly strong today and made my way reasonably quickly to the town of Estella. This qualifies as a city, albeit a small one. Last year its population was 14,000. Some of the villages I’ve been staying in have populations hovering in the 200 to 300 range!
I wanted to stop in Estella, as there were a couple of museums, at least 3 churches, and a number of plazas to visit. So, I kept going. The guidebooks fail to mention that one must be superhuman to meet the suggested days of walking and actually see anything. I have to go back to work eventually, so I must choose. Perhaps I’ll come back someday and do this by car!
Reached the next village of Irachi, which is the home to the wine fountain and wine museum, courtesy of the small, local winery. It was turning windy and gray, so I stopped in the church to attend mass. This was a very barren church, but it was beautiful in the simplicity of its bare soaring naves. When I left, I was surprised by a courtyard to one side that had been set up for brunch, with a jazz band playing “Girl from Ipanema. ” A study in contrasts, to say the least.
When I left there I was feeling very alone, an outsider in this small but apparently tight-knit community. I didn’t want to continue, but one must. As a practical matter it can be remote between villages, and unless there is a bus stop, there doesn’t seem to be any way of securing assistance in any event. Besides, I came here to make my way to Santiago, not to give up in Irache!
As I made my way throuh a forest and then through agricultural land, I fully realized that there is no way I’ll be able to walk the rest of the way. The other thing I’m learning is that much of the Way is internal – that the Camino exists every moment whether I’m on my feet or in a seat on the bus.
I had low energy today. I will try to eat enough at dinner tonight, and to ensure I have actual meals tomorrow, too. I am thinking that insufficient food is at least partially responsible for the low energy.
In any event, I stopped for the day at Azqueta, a town of one through street that seems to go on for no more than 4 blocks. Am staying at what seems to be a lovely albergue in an old home. The sleeping spaces are on the top floor, but the shower is on the bottom, with 34 steps between! The hot water was plentiful, and there are 3 beds per room. Unfortunately, I have the room with two men in it. On the plus side, our room has the toilet, which is no small thing.
Tomorrow I will make my way to Villamayor de Monjardin – of course up a steep hill – and will try to see a bit of the place with its population of 150! Then on through about 12 kms of esentially nothing to arrive in Los Arcos, population 1200. I will see what I’m able to do then, if anything. I might try to get a bus into the next actual city, Logroño, moving from the Navarre to the Rioja region. Thats right, the wines will begin to change.
There is much going on internally. I have been thinking of my family and friends, their intentions and mine. I am trying to stay focused on love – a lesson from last night. I met Kyle, one of a group of 3 from Wyoming. He is a liberal (imagine that) who was raised in a large Jehovah’s Witness family. He was shunned about 3 years ago, for beginning to question the teachings of that church. He even has a twin brother with whom he no longer has contact. Where is the love in his family?
Dinner was local vegetarian. If you love tomatoes, you have much to be jealous of. They were wonderful.
While it’s not even 9:00, I am so tired. My body needs to replenish itself. So, adios until I next have wifi and time.