Today’s distance: 10.6 km
Total distance: 130.8 km.
Elevation gain: 379 metres
Weather: Sun, clouds, wind and cold by late PM
Highlight: Wine Fountain and Blisters
After walking over 27.5 km yesterday, my feet were in no condition to go further than 10.6 km today. I sprouted two blisters! The little toe on my left foot looks twice as long as usual. I didn’t know you could get a blister there – right at the tip! There is also one on my big toe where there was a callus, so now it is a blistered callus. I must have been careless with my foot care.
Dave and I walked 32 km one day on our first Camino and we never had blisters. I took for granted they wouldn’t happen this time either. That will teach me for being such a smarty pants thinking it could never happen to me!
I still need to get a SIM card for the phone and something to doctor my blistered foot. No shops were open yet when I left the albergue in Estella at 8 AM, but I did find a lovely little place called Namaste Tea Room to have a healthy veggie smoothie. It was pricey (4.5 Euros!!!) but it was such a pleasant atmosphere and they had wi-fi which is a good selling point. When I left Namaste at 9:30 the shops were probably open, but I didn’t want to backtrack with my blistered foot.
Is there a better way to start the walk than by stopping off at the famous free wine fountain (Fuente de Vino)? This is where pilgrims can fortify themselves for the journey ahead at the generosity of the Bodegas. The wine was definitely not aged to perfection but beggars can’t be choosers!
I had originally planned to walk the Luquin route between Irache and Villamayor de Monjardin which is a higher, scenic route. The downside of that route is that it is longer. Because of my blistered foot, I took the direct route and hoped that once I got there I could buy something to protect the blisters from getting worse.
In Villamayor de Monjardin I ran into a Spanish man and his son whom I had met two days earlier in Muruzabal. We chatted a bit and I asked if he knew whether there was a Farmacia in town where I could buy Compeed, an anti-friction stick to help prevent blisters. I wasn’t sure if it was good for fully developed blisters, but I would get that information at the Farmacia. It is a product that pilgrims swear by – something I don’t think is available in Canada. Then another case of pilgrims helping pilgrims happened. The Spanish man dug into his pack, brought out his first aid kit and gave me what I need. Such kindness!
I am staying at an excellent albergue tonight here in Villamayor de Monjardin: Albergue Oasis Trails. It has 25 beds in five rooms in a 400-year-old building. My room sleeps six. Accommodation is 10 Euros, the communal vegetarian dinner is 10 Euros, and the buffet breakfast is 5 Euros. The food was excellent and the kitchen/dining room has a warm atmosphere and a beautiful view. Following dinner there was half-hour meditation in a charming little room with stone walls, wooden beams, low benches, big cushions, blankets, and tea for anyone who would like to come. Sound good? It was!
Peter from Ireland climbed up to St. Stephen’s Castle today which stands at the top of the conical peak behind Villamayor de Monjardin. He gave it a very positive review. Unfortunately I washed three of my socks this afternoon leaving me with just one. Bad planning! Maybe I will climb to the castle tomorrow morning before leaving town – as long as my socks dry. They are hanging out on the clothes line at the moment and I am watching and hoping it doesn’t rain!
P.S. I have another pet peeve: bunk beds in which the top bed is so low that you can’t sit upright to blog!