Monday, 10 June 2013

Day 11: Estella - Torres Del Rio

Today was another day of marching along in the rain - up until the early afternoon, that is. Kibben and Ron had stayed in Estella to have breakfast, and I set out into the rain as Monjardin - i.e. breakfast - was 10km further on. I stopped off at a lovely little cafe that I reached in just under two hours, and had ordered coffee, orange juice and a sandwich before someone pointed out that I was actually in Azqueta, and that Monjardin was a little further on. This simple mistake had an equally simple consequence - double breakfast (coffee and ice cream) with Ray, an Irish guy who I've been bumping into since St. Jean Pied-de-Port. I also got to see a bit more of Back To The Future, which had just started when I stopped in Azqueta. Spanish daytime TV is not to be underrated. 

I pressed on to Los Arcos, which had a charming square, but felt rather touristy. There was an American guy wanking on about Photoshop layers to two fellow pilgrims, who I assume he was holding captive. I hate Photoshop, and am rather looking forward to the long hours of developing and scanning films. Not that I'd bore anyone about it - much. 

Los Arcos
Anyway the result was that I decided to carry on to Torres Del Rio - another eight kilometres in the mid-afternoon sun, which was actually rather nice. Most people tend to stop walking after 2pm, so I really had the landscape to myself - usually there's a train of people, or at least a few pilgrims between the horizons in each direction. Torres Del Rio is a tiny settlement with steep streets overlooking the ravine above which it is perched - I still find these rather hard going on my ankles.

My cousin Rupert had emailed me a dossier of his albergue experience from his travels a month ago, and described the pilgrims' menu as 'a bit basic' with pricey beer. So I tried the other albergue (Casa Mariela) and it was excellent. Accommodation, supper and breakfast for €20, and the staff were charming. The supper was in the family restaurant, and I felt rather spoilt as I had my second white asparagus and steak hit in two nights. Excellent Rioja too! I was sat between Brigitte, a classics professor from Paris, and Gwendolyn who is a Flemish baker. A lovely evening and one that made walking the extra distance from Los Arcos entirely worthwhile.