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The 4 of us left the alberuge early, around 6 a.m. as usual. Our new friend Sparky decided to leave with us and hang out for a while. The first stop of the morning was the feunte del vino (fountain of wine) at the Monasterio de Irache. Sadly, the wine fountain does not flow with wine until 8:00 a.m. and we were not going to wait around 2 hours to have some morning wine. Disappointment for everybody that morning.
If memory serves me correctly, the majority of this hike was spent hiking through wheat fields and around bails of hay. It was a fairly uneventful day. Same business as usual, wake up, hike, stop for lunch, meet other pilgrims, continue on the trail. Not even a full week into the trip and we had already fallen into a routine. I was glad to have Sparky along with our small group. It was good to change things up a bit.
We stopped for a picnic lunch a little ways outside of town where someone had once had a campground. We sate and rested and ate chorizo y queso bocadillos (chorizo and cheese sandwiches), fruit, and chocolate. While we were still resting, Sparky decided that it was time for her to move on, and she headed on into town. It was hard getting back up, but eventually we gathered our things and hit the trail again for Los Arcos, today’s destination.
After entering town, we settled in to a municipal albergue called Casa de la Abuela (Grandma’s house). The albergue had Wi-Fi access, a great full kitchen, laundry service, and a very cool host that kept the albergue family-run for several years. We also ran into some familiar faces at the albergue, our Irish friends Old John and his son John! It was always fun running into the same people. It’s kinda like a little reunion every couple of days.
After settling in, Dom and Caroline began their search for a place to attend mass. I can’t remember if they had missed it or not, but they couldn’t attend mass for some reason. Well, instead of skipping, Dom (being a priest) decided to have his own mass. He went to work buying some bread and wine for communion and Dom, Caroline, Mel, and Old John headed out to the edge of town, sat down on a front porch, and held mass. John and I stayed back and relaxed in front of the albergue and enjoyed some wine and an afternoon cigarette. After returning from the impromptu mass, Dom, Caroline, Mel, and I went to grab dinner at a nearby restaurant with an exceptional pilgrim menu, or so we thought. That would be the last real meal I would eat for the next 5 days due to the food poisoning I got. I wasn’t alone either, Mel was hit to. In case you were wondering, yes, it really does suck to hike and not be able to keep anything in your system besides bread, water, and bananas.
Aside from the food poisoning, another unfortunate thing happened. At one of the other albergues where some of my other friends were staying, several pilgrims had their iPhones, cameras, iPads, and cash stolen. It reassured my cautiousness with my valuables. For this very reason, even before I heard of these pilgrims being robbed, I slept every night with my passport, phone, and money in my neck wallet which was also wrapped around my arm or leg or waist. If someone wanted what I had, they weren’t going to get it without waking me up. With this being said, I don’t want to alarm or scare anyone away from doing the Camino. I never once felt like I was in danger while hiking on the Camino for the entire month it took me. You do however have to have a bit of common sense not to leave the stuff you don’t want stolen unattended. Lessons learned the hard way are the ones some people remember the best. Next time I come across this town, I’ll probably just keep going, too many bad experiences.
Destination: Los Arcos
Distance: 20 km (roughly)
Accommodation: Casa de la Abuela- Like I said above, Wi-Fi access, a great full kitchen, laundry service, and a very cool host that kept the albergue family-run for several years. If I didn’t have so many bad experiences in this town, I’d definitely stay here again.