Friday, October 2, 2009

On To Estella

I woke up to the usual sound of pilgrims packing, and I was on the road by 7:45 am in the lovely, cool morning air with the pastel glow on the sky as the sun slowly moved up over the mountain ridge in the East.
The next town was 5 km away, and I was there by about 9:30 am, ready for my café con leche, bocadillo and a banana. Lots of other pilgrims from the auberge was there as well, most of them Spanish.
The walk was not too strenious, just a few hills, but downhill still was tough for my left knee, but I made good time, and enjoyed most of my walk. A group of French "day pilgrims" no backpack or water to carry - were keeping pace with me for a while. Along the way they raided a fig tree - I resented that, because that´s one of the reason´s some Spaniards are not too thrilled about all the pelegrinos (pilgrims) passing by every day - can´t blame them with that behaviour!
Anyway, I happily lost them on the way out of Villatuerta, and the last part of the day´s walk in to Estella went quickly. I found the municipal auberge without problems as it was right on the Camino leading into Estella.
I was there just past 1 pm, and got my stamp in my pilgrim´s passport and a bed - bottom bunk again! I don´t know how long this luck can last, but I will enjoy it as long as I can!
I went about the usual routine of shower, laundry, checking emails, all this before the majority of pilgrims had arrived! Then I sat out in the lovely couryard and did my nails, before taking a nap while putting the cool necktie around my knee to ease the swelling. This little "cool tie" certainly has been coming in handy during these rather hot days!
In the early evening I set out to explore Estella, which is a beautiful town dating back to 1090, with lots of churches and monuments and the Palacio de los Reys de Navarra where the kings of Navarra used to live back in the 12th century. Part of it is now converted in to an art gallery devoted to the painter Gustave de Maetzu. Of course I had to see it, and it really was a very nice exhibit, which I enjoyed.
Inspired by the artwork, I walked on to the town square where I found lots of outdoor cafes full of people, so I joined them and had a nice, cool glass of Rosada wine, got my sketchbook out, and did a little quick sketch with my black pen,and then another with watercolors. It was 6:30 pm and the temperature was still 25C, and feeling cool, so the day must have been really hot! Later I had a nice pilgrim´s dinner while chatting with my neighbors from the dorm - they were from Quebec - so many Canadians are on the Camino, especially from Quebec, and very few Americans - so far I have only met very few.

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