Where is Piere???
I don’t know where he is, was my confused nonverbal answer…? My mind was not quite awake at 5.30am. I was in my top bunk looking down with an odd face on the woman or “hospitalera” who was part of Albergue Casa Padaborn, who had just entered the room.
Apparently she was looking for a person named Piere. Her voice was loud and some of the pore pilgrims who were sleeping in the bottom bunks were met with the question: “Where is Piere?” – No one obliged to her question, just mere confusion and almost terror was the natural reaction. She asked three different people and woke them up without any regard for human life!
The day before I had met Ricardo from Spain and he was on the top bunk next to mine 4 feet to my left. I had observed that he had not been unable to sleep, but finally had gone back to sleep.
It was like the woman saw this as her absolute last chance and raised her hope by going to the top bunks to find this person; Piere… and in one instant, she ripped the covers off Ricardo and asked…: “Are you Piere!?” – The reaction from Ricardo was priceless! I am sure that he thought the world had just gone under or that he were just absolutely bewildered to why in the world HE would be Piere??? That was how the morning began in Pamplona, with the experience and now… ongoing joke about: Where Piere is?
The Stage in Profile – Day 4
Pamplona – Puente la Reina = 20km
Walking out the door to the dormitory I surprisingly stumbled into Daniela. She was in the room next to mine which I did not know, but began walking out of Pamplona together. We caught up with a bigger group, where Ricardo and Steffen also were among. Extraordinary landscape was before us, mountains 360´ and with pure green and yellow color fields. It was absolutely spectacular!
On the top of the hill some way from Pamplona was an important monument for pilgrims and on the way I gained a new companion and friend, Steffen from my mother land Denmark as we talked a lot and go to know each other well. Steffen was walking The Camino to uncover what he was meant to do for his life, he had been in the military before and as contradictory as it sounds, he hated walking, but he was very strong and had much endurance and speed, that was for sure!
We walked together the entire day and it was the beginning of a friendship. Obanos was one of the “main stage”- villages; a little oasis of a village although a typical one you pass many of on The Way, but much smaller than Pamplona.
This village also had it´s own pilgrim markings walking into Obanos. The 3-4km after Obanos were loooooong… but we arrived in Puente la Reina after a day filled with impeccable scenery, but also finishing with gingerly legs. We checked-in and got our new daily stamp.
After the usual we took a stroll to find something to eat… and SO we did!
It is time for some pilgrim info: The prices to stay in the albergues ranges between 5 and 10 Euros and the albergue “municipals”, which are public pilgrim albergues, are the cheapest with more pilgrim atmosphere, a kitchen and is within the old tradition of The Camino – meaning not commercialized.
In the supermarkets the prices are generally on the good side and what seems to be unbelievably cheap in restaurants when you buy their pilgrim menu´s as Steffen and I did in picture above. A menu consist of 3 courses, a bottle of wine pr. person and bread. This was our first time, but shook our head constantly to how in the world this could go around for just 10 euros?!
In the evening, Ana from Brazil, Daniela, Ricardo, Steffen and I went out together. The gathering was real nice, we talked and got to know each other and to me it felt like, that a little group was about to develop.
That night I slept in two different places; in my top bunk and for about 3 hours in the bathroom. The bathroom??? – Yes, the guy underneath me snored so loud and was so drunk that his constant in and out of the room as well as furious intensity of snoring made me take the madras and sleep in the bathroom. “You gotta do what you gotta do!”
The Stage in Profile – Day 5
Puente la Reina – Estelle = 22,5km
I got enough sleep for another day of walking and Steffen, Ana and me were waiting on the others from the night before as we had agreed on starting together. But they did not show up and when I saw Justin from Seattle come around the corner towards us, I decided to begin walking with him. We crossed a beautiful bridge and walked on towards the first and only ascent on the day – short and steep it was.
A great view is always the satisfaction of reaching any peak. After the peak I walked alone the entire day and for some reason, my tempo was furious. I felt like my legs were on wheels and I literally rolled onwards and felt quite strong today – the shin splints were not a hindrance at all.
You could get an additional stamp about midway and after that I literally took off in speed and in addition I just wanted to be by myself.
The landscape was a mix of many hills and vineyards. I was getting closer to Estelle fast and while I saw the two pilgrims in front of me, it seemed I was ahead of the “known” pack of people and here I entered the last village before Estelle; Villatuerta.
Not too long after I passed the indicator of 3,2km, there was another one saying 2,4km but when you have walked for 3 days, you begin to know and/or feel how long it takes to walk one kilometer. It seemed like it kept going for so long!
I am sure it was way longer than what was marked – which also was one of the times where my mind began to play with me again and also where you learned that you CAN´T or should not put your trust in the distances indicated on signs or in the guidebook, that attachment is not worth the aggravation.
Finally I got to Estelle and a real nice valley-like village with a river and nice buildings – the villages in Spain are always really pretty, has a style and beauty that seems old yet quite welcoming and beautiful. I found the municipal albergue and checked-in.
Besides washing some clothing in the shower (yep, it happens), doing some writing with a beer in the courtyard outside with Steffen and other familiar faces, it was today a group and community type of atmosphere began.
Ian from England, wanted to cook up a lot of food for people and so it went that Steffen, Ester from Holland, Ana and me helped him to make this happen. It was such a nice way to get to know people and be together in both making and sharing food. All initiated by Ian – a really great guy! He had been on The Camino 4 times now, so quite experienced.
After a nice and cheap meal, social gathering, talking to people you knew and didn’t know, enjoyed wine and what I see as a really nice pilgrim experience when so many pilgrims were together was a special day for us all. The Camino had really begun now…! (Stamp from Estelle)
Another beautiful day was worth some shut-eye, so another one could be started…
The Stage in Profile – Day 6
Estelle – Torris del Rio = 29,5km
It was morning again and I had the pleasure to say “good morning” to the usual South Korean, that I for some reason met every morning for some days. The day began with Steffen, Ana and me walking out of Estelle and towards Torres del Rio and what would be the longest walk so far on The Camino.
A very long urban and deserted piece of land was passed throughout the day. It was quite a pleasure even it was hot as hell when it came to the sun!
The friendship being developed between Steffen, Ana, Ian and me was growing and as fate would have it, a fantastic beginning of the day eventually became one of the best evenings of the entire journey towards Santiago.
Beautiful and fantastic landscape shaped great conversation between Ana and me, as Steffen had walked ahead. It was great to be alive – great to be a pilgrim on The Camino!
The last main village before Torres del Rio was Los Arcos. It was after a long stretch we got there and toured the church as a little break. It was also where it easily could have been where you stopped, because another 8km was left before Torres del Rio. I was in front of Steffen and Ana as we passed the last albergue-option and a “lets go – we can do this” – made them change their mind and walk on “with me” as I walked ahead of them.
Sansol, was the village just some hundred meters from Torres del Rio, which was in a valley and I can tell you, that I was VERY happy to stand in front of the sign going into Torres del Rio. My feet, left shin and everything in my body was absolutely smashed and I also had the visit of my first smaller blisters!
I went up the little hill and up to the albergue where I stopped. I did not know if Ian who had reached Los Arcos before us was already here, but I checked-in and then awaited many of the people I would grow quite close with over the next days and weeks. Steffen and Ana came after me, so did Ian and then we all went down to have a beer and kick back!
It was a fantastic place to sit because we would see all the pilgrims that came up that last hill and clap away as they had accomplished a long stage today! It was so much fun and mutually satisfying! The great atmosphere increased to a fantastic one and we took that to the restaurant nearby where we were about 30+ pilgrims.
What a fantastic evening, with so much conversation, laughter and dining. It was a wonderful night to be alive and to be around so many happy and great people all on our way, on our own way, but together during it.
Many did not feel like going to sleep, but stayed outside the alberuge and talk… but eventually the long day today and another one to wake up to tomorrow was enough to make our way to the rooms, crawl inside your backpack and close your eyes once again in another place, in another bed.
Reflections & Insight of The Day
“If you keep taking the steps towards where you want to go, you will get to the desired destination.”
I know that the above phrase can seem very obvious, but what kind of goals and dreams do you have for your life? How far are you willing to go, how much pain and hard work are you willing to put in, in every little step to reach the destination you are working towards?
Any dream or anything that is worth something extraordinary to yourself or the people in your life will have to be accomplished through hard work, pain and some suffering and walking The Camino is a beautiful and clear metaphor of this truth!
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