Today’s distance: 27.5 km
Total distance: 120.2 km.
Elevation gain: 675 metres
Weather: Sun, clouds, light rain, and breezy
Highlight: Parochial Hostel San Miguel
When Dave and I walked the Camino in 2015, we saw many empty storks’ nests. In the spring it is different. There was at least one little white head bobbing up and down in the nest at Padres Repardores at the entrance to Puente la Reina.
I was accompanied today by Adele singing Rolling in the Deep. (That was Adele’s song, wasn’t it?) No, it wasn’t playing on my iPod. I went into a bar in Cirauqui for cafe con leche and it happened to be playing. It got stuck in my head and I couldn’t get it out. The crunching of my foot steps kept in perfect time with that song: 1234/5678 which didn’t help any. Same tempo! I tried my best to change the soundtrack by changing the rhythm of my steps into 123/123 but before you know it Adele was back with her 1234/5678. She stuck around for at least two hours and nearly drove me nuts!
I had no intention to walk 27.5 km today. My destination was Casa Magica in Villatuerta, a place recommended by Tania who loved it there in 2013. Massages are available, so you can imagine how that would feel after carrying 14 lbs. on your back for five days. It would have been a 22.0 km walk to Villatuerta.
I arrived in Villatuerta at the same time as Jo, a young Korean lady, who was also looking for Casa Magica. Both of us went on a search only to find out that it is under renovation because of water damage. We had no choice but to walk an additional 3.9 km to Estella. Ultreia! (Onward!)
We decided to settle in at the first albergue we came to in Estella, and what a welcome sight it was. We went in and handed over our passports at the desk. Our credentiales were stamped as usual but, rather than be given a bed number, we were given a map of the town. Jo and I looked at each other in confusion. What about our room? Where do we go? Don’t we have to pay? Or do we give a donation (donativo)? The funny thing is, we weren’t even at an albergue! It was the information centre! Great! Jo and I were probably deliriously tired at the time or we would have taken a closer look at the sign before going in.
We had a good laugh over it as we headed toward the San Miguel Paroquial Albergue. It has 28 beds in two rooms and one bathroom shared by all. It was recommended, no doubt, because of the wonderful hospitaleras who volunteer there. They bend over backwards to help anyone who needs it, such as calling a taxi or bringing boots from where they are kept in the rear of the facility so we wouldn’t get our feet wet. They come from Whitehorse, Yukon, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and didn’t know each other until now. The facility operates by donation, and the money goes toward utilities, breakfast supplies, etc. There were hugs when we arrived and when we left and a wish to “Have a good life” as well as “Buen Camino!” It wasn’t a fancy place by any means; it was the people who made it unforgettably special.
P.S. I actually walked further than 27.5 km today because I turned off the All Trails recorder when Jo and I reached the non-albergue!